Cinco de Mayo ‘biggest day of year’ for Mexican eateriesWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s Cinco de Mayo all year long for the local Mexican eateries that bear that name — but the day itself is always one of the busiest days of the year, local restaurant managers said.
Cinco de Mayo, which is Spanish for “fifth of May,” is “the biggest weekend of the year,” said Arturo Castro, assistant manager at Cinco De Mayo Mexican Bar & Grill at 304 E. Alexis Road.
The eatery’s annual celebration will be bigger than last year, featuring the return of a jalapeño-eating contest at 5 p.m. May 4 and 5, Castro said.
Also on the calendar is a Tony Orlando revue and Elvis tribute contest 2-5 p.m. May 4 and folkloric dancers at 5 p.m. May 4 and 5. Starting at 4 p.m. May 5, there will be a live band downstairs and DJ and karaoke upstairs. Happy hour, featuring 12-ounce margaritas for $3.75, is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Carlos Fuentes, owner of La Fiesta Restaurante in Maumee, agreed Cinco de Mayo is “the biggest day of the year.”
The 1406 S. Reynolds Road eatery will feature a tent in the parking lot on May 5. Pints of draft beer and Mexican bottled beer will be $2.75. Margaritas will also be on special. DJ Excel will perform all night starting at 3 p.m. The Bradberries will perform at 6 p.m. There will also be giveaways all day.
“Any day we can give something back to our customers and pay them back what they give to us all year round is a good day,” Fuentes said. “This is the way I see it — a day you can celebrate with your customers.”
La Fiesta will also host a “warm-up party” May 3 and 4, featuring jumbo margaritas for $6.25 and 23-ounce domestic drafts for $2.99.
“A lot of people think Cinco de Mayo is Independence Day for Mexico, but it’s not,” said El Camino Real owner Jesus Angel. That’s Sept. 16. The May 5 holiday honors a great military victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
The festivities at El Camino Real, 2500 W. Sylvania Ave., will kick off May 2 with “the biggest guacamole ever made,” featuring free guacamole and chips to the first 100 people starting at 3 p.m., Angel said. Guacamole mash will be free to the first 100 people May 4.
The eatery will also feature a jalapeño toreado-eating contests on May 2, 3 and 5, burrito-eating contests on May 3 and 5 and a taco-eating contest on May 4. Folkloric dancers and a mariachi band will perform May 3. May 4 will feature $1 off drinks. May 5 will also feature a variety of DJs from local radio stations and plenty of giveaways all weekend, Angel said.
El Vaquero — with locations at The Docks, on Secor Road and in Perrysburg — will feature “five days of fun” starting May 1, said general manager Arne Lopez. There will be live DJs broadcasting on 101.5 The River from all three locations on May 5.
Specials include all Mexican beers, buckets of beer and pitchers of margaritas.
“It’s a party,” Lopez said. “It’s going to be a great day for a deal.”
Jeanie Kunzer, owner of Loma Linda, is excited because Cinco de Mayo falls on the Swanton eatery’s Margarita Monday this year.
“You know what happens when Cinco de Mayo finally falls on Margarita Monday — margaritas on special, beer specials, food specials, entertainment and fun on the patio!” Kunzer said.
Kunzer’s birthday is May 7, so she usually makes Cinco de Mayo a weeklong celebration.
May 2 and 3 will feature a live mariachi band at Loma Linda. There will also be a live band May 5.
The family-owned eatery, at 10400 Airport Hwy., has been in business since 1955 and was the first Mexican restaurant in Toledo. The eatery will celebrate its 59th year in business June 9.
“Cinco de Mayo is a big one, but our anniversary will be even bigger yet,” Kunzer said.
Ventura’s, 7742 W. Bancroft St., will feature $2 Mexican beers, $3 margaritas, half-off appetizer specials and live entertainment on May 3 and 5, said general manager Valerie Mundt-Scott.
Mi Hacienda, 3302 Glanzman Road, will offer food and drink specials all weekend, including half-off beer, 12-ounce margaritas and jumbo house margaritas during happy hour from 2-6 p.m. May 5-6. Food specials include a $5.99 taco dinner on May 5 and $2 off fajitas on May 6. There will be a DJ on the patio on May 5.
The Toledo Zoo will host its 14th annual Cinco de Mayo event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 4, including performances from DJ Tony Rios at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and the El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folklorico at noon and 2 p.m. There will also be a piñata at 1 p.m. and cultural crafts throughout the day, said zoo events coordinator Jen Brassil. The events are free with a paid zoo admission.
“Compared to other Cinco de Mayo celebrations, we’re very family-oriented,” Brassil said. “I think people just love to see the performances and all the costumes.”
Bowling Green State University’s Latino Student Union and Latino Networking Alliance will celebrate Cinco de Mayo a week early. Its Latinopalooza event, featuring “food, games and fun” will take place 1-5 p.m. April 26 on the University Hall lawn.
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