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Abuelita's plans to surprise customers if it wins the We're Open tournament

Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 18:30:30-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The NCAA Sweet 16 has been whittled down to the Final Four. That means there are just four Richmond-area restaurants vying for the We're Open tournaments title.

CBS 6 randomly paired 16 Richmond-area restaurants with the teams playing in the Sweet 16. As each team won on the basketball court, the restaurant advanced. We’re now down to four. All four restaurants will win prizes with the biggest prize going to the winner of Monday’s championship game.

Abuelita's in South Richmond is among the remaining restaurants.

"What we serve here is homemade Mexican stews, Mexican food. It's not your traditional Mexican food. It's very authentic," Abuelita's owner Karina Benavides said. "It's stuff that you would eat at home. If you were ever to come to our house, this what you'd eat."

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Abuelita's has been opened at 6400 Midlothian Turnpike since October 2018.

Like many restaurants, Benavides said the pandemic has negatively impacted business.

The family-owned restaurant adapted to stay open.

"The good thing about the food that we have here, and the way we serve the food, is that it was really easy to transfer from serving here to doing it outside," Benavides said. "We actually did like a drive-thru, where we had people come through in their cars, and they would order and we would bring the food out to them."

While serving the food proved easy, other things were not.

"It was so hard to keep up with all the different changes that we had to do every week," Benavides shared. "First you could only do to go, then we had to completely close to customers. We tried to do so many different things trying to adjust. It was difficult."

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You can support Abuelita's by ordering food here and by rooting for the Baylor Bears in the Final Four.

Whichever team wins the tournament, the corresponding restaurant wins $1,500.

Sponsor Maebird Marketing will also produce commercials for all the Final Four restaurants.

"I like basketball. I like all kinds of sports," Benavides said. "Of course, when they asked us if we wanted to be a part of it, it was exciting because we want people to know we're here, we're open. But then it became a thing where start researching the teams and you're like, oh my God, we got a really good team. It's just been fun. I love interacting with people on social media. I think this is a really fun activity for Richmond, especially for the restaurants, and so that we can actually because the way they're doing it is that we're actually getting something in return. And we're not really doing anything. So I'm very excited to give something back to our customers. And they're helping us to do that."

Benavides said to keep an eye on their social media to see what surprises they have in store if Abuelita's wins the tournament.

On the farm with Libby Lewis