NORFOLK -- After a few years of applications, one Mexican restaurant in Norfolk is finally gaining recognition.

Michaels' Cantina has applied to be part of the Nebraska Passport Program for the last three years. The staff is excited to finally be part of the 2022 tour recommendations.

Owner Heath Henery explained that it started when he and his girlfriend went on a tour to visit some of the program's places four years ago, and decided they wanted to bring it to their restaurant. 

"We saw some places we would not have seen otherwise," Henery said. 

This summer, the Mexican food hotspot has already seen 454 digital check-ins, and 150 or so meet him in in-person for the stamps. 

"We've got some fantastic recipes we developed over the years, and I also collect old signage so that it's kind of a visual museum here too," Henery said. Personally, he enjoys the location because he has seen families grow up and bring their children. 

This year, the restaurant also joined the Beef Council Passport Program -- a newer program. 

"There wasn't a whole lot of choices in it last year and so I reached out and said 'hey, Mexican food -- we use a whole lot of meat in fajitas and such,'" he said. 

In recent years, especially during COVID-19, Henery noted that they've seen more business and more takeout. Going forward, his biggest challenge he said will be to keep up with demand -- given labor shortages. 

Michael's Cantina opened 27 years ago with an Omaha location, first.