Riverside to hold El Cena Casa Day

Staff Writer

Riverside Grocery & Catering, located at 4444 Highway 5 in Benton, will hold its bi-annual El Cena Casa Day beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Rick Bellinger, owner of Riverside, said his business is the only place to get authentic El Cena Casa recipes, which were given to him by the original owners — the King family.
The Kings approached Bellinger 12 years ago and offered the items. Those recipes are still a closely guarded secret known only to the family and Bellinger.
Bellinger offers the most popular El Cena dishes, sold in bulk, including cheese dip, hot sauce, chips, punch, guacamole, refried beans, Spanish rice, enchiladas and taco meat.
The cheese dip is made in five-gallon batches, Bellinger said. He said he plans to make 30 batches this year, along with 14 batches of hot sauce, 14 cases of fresh chips and 42 batches of fruit punch, to try to keep up with the demand. He expects to sell out.
The smallest offerings will be sold by the pint.
Bellinger said some people buy the cheese dip by the gallon because they know it won't be available again until the second half of the year.
Bellinger began working on dishes this week. He makes everything fresh, including grinding chuck for the taco meat. He takes pride in doing the recipes well.
He said people start lining up around 10:30 a.m. the day of the event.
Bellinger believes part of people's love for the dishes in nostalgia for something they can't easily get any longer.
Riverside sells the hot sauce and cheese dip for $5 a pint and guacamole for $5 for half a pint. By the gallon, cheese dip is $40.
Bellinger said, on average, individuals spend $25 to $30.
A complete list of food and prices will be on the Riverside Grocery & Catering Facebook page.