An emotional goodbye to a town favorite restaurant, La Casa


Morgan Parrish

Rebranding is underway for La Casa, including changing the name to Fiesta Jalapeño.

by Morgan Parrish, Staff Reporter

Indianola’s La Casa Mexican Restaurant announced on Sept. 8 that they would be rebranding the company by changing their name, adding new dishes and doing some interior remodeling.  

La Casa Mexican Restaurant is now called Fiesta Jalapeños. The announcement was made in a Facebook post by the new owner, Jose Ortega, stating the business appreciates its customers’ support and wants to reciprocate it by changing things up. 

Ortega currently also owns and operates the original Fiesta Jalapeños in Ankeny, Iowa. 

The Indianola Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting on June 23 to celebrate Ortega’s new ownership. 

When Simpson College is in session, it is no doubt that Simpson students are a large portion of La Casa’s customer base. Although La Casa states that their rebranding is for the customers, some Simpson students are not fans of the new rebranding and may not support Fiesta Jalapeños.

Senior Hannah Spencer said that La Casa is by far her favorite restaurant in Indianola, but the new name change doesn’t sit right with her.

“It feels weird. I laughed when I first heard the new name. It has always been Casa, and Fiesta Jalapeños just doesn’t roll off the tongue the same way that Casa does. I think it will change the feel of Indianola,” said Spencer.

Even though Spencer said she doesn’t like the new name, she said she will give Fiesta Jalapeños a shot.

When conducting a Twitter poll with Simpson students, the majority voted that they disliked the name Fiesta Jalapeños. Out of 123 votes, 67% voted they dislike the new name, 5% voted they like it and 28% voted indifferently. Some students who voted they disliked it still said they would try to support it.

Senior Riley Fagan said he used La Casa to connect to his home in Texas and the name La Casa meant something to him, but he will support the rebrand.

“Mexican food is pretty much a staple down where I am from, and there’s not much good Mexican food up here, so Casa was kind of a bridge to home for me,” Fagan said. “I was there quite often because of that, but I think we can spin this positively.” Fagan said he doesn’t necessarily think Fiesta Jalapeños is a bad name, he just doesn’t think it’s the right name.

“It’s a good name, but it’s not La Casa, it doesn’t say ‘the home’ like it should, but the same people are there, it still should be a good time,” said Fagan.

Senior Jorge Castelan, like Spencer, is having a hard time accepting the name change. 

When asked about his initial reaction to Fiesta Jalapeño, it wasn’t positive.

“I knew the Ankeny location opened up, and I just didn’t know they were going to change the name of La Casa here to the name of the new location,” Castelan said. “You expect La Casa being the older location and older branch that they would name the new location in Ankeny to La Casa, not change the name of La Casa here.”

Castelan stated that he used to go to La Casa three times a week, but it has progressively come down to zero due to several changes. When asking Castelan if he will start going more often now that they are rebranding, he said definitely not.

“Ever since the ownership change last year, they got rid of a lot of specials, deals on Mondays and prices have gone up,” Casteland said. “I understand, coming from the restaurant industry–that’s kind of what my parents do as well–how prices need to go up. But to the rate they went up here? In my opinion, it is quite ludicrous.”

Fiesta Jalapeños grand opening will be held on Oct. 14, featuring a DJ, mariachi, dancing horses and Mexican dancers. There will also be a a house margarita special from 5-9 p.m.

It is not certain when the rebranding of La Casa will be completed, but the restaurant has begun to make progress since the announcement.