Ismael spent one day as a dishwasher and the very next day started training as a cook’s assistant, mainly chopping and dicing produce. He quickly made his way to the top as head chef. Atlanta in the early 80’s had only a handful of Mexican restaurants. Ismael didn’t know it at the time, but he was learning his craft from some of the original restaurateurs that would later cover the southeast with restaurants.
In 1990, Ismael moved to Florence, South Carolina, where alongside a few partners, opened his first Mexican restaurant, a restaurant still operating there today. A year later, Casa Linda Mexican Restaurant was established in Sumter, South Carolina, where Ismael Villegas fulfilled a dream by opening his own restaurant. Today, Casa Linda is serving that original flavor Ismael mastered many years ago at our Forest Acres and Harbison/Irmo locations. On behalf of Ismael and family, we thank all of our loyal customers for providing us the opportunity to share what is, “The Taste of Mexico”.