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New Mexican Restaurant Set for Grand Opening in Covington

Covington's newest restaurant offering is set to open on Wednesday.

Zapata Cantina will host a grant opening on Wednesday, September 16 at 11 a.m.

The restaurant, named for the early 20th century Mexican revolutionary and folk hero Emiliano Zapata, is located at 801 Madison Avenue. It will focus on Mexican street food with "a modern interpretation of traditional dishes."

The River City News profiled the restaurant in January shortly after its plans were announced.

The cantina will make everything in-house, including its own two-toned tortillas. It will offer a wide selection of mezcal, tequila, and bourbon on its cocktail menu.

Decorated with colorful Mexican tiles throughout, the interior features exposed brick, steel beams, and rustic wood accents. A “tequila bunker” greets guests at the front door where regulars will have the opportunity to store their favorite tequila and mezcal. 

801 Madison was historically home to a Frisch's location, but was renovated by Madison Ventures.

“The place had so much potential, but it had been vacant and deteriorating for decades. We feel that this building is a meaningful component to the continued development of the Covington CBD, and seeing it come back to life has been a terrific experience”, said Eric Steiden, of Madison Ventures and the Steiden Law Firm.

"Covington's growth has exploded over the past few years, and we want to be part of the incredible revitalization of the city. The Eighth and Madison corner anchors the development that is spreading toward the south end of the central business district", said Alex Rodriguez, co-owner and general manager of Zapata Cantina. 

Rodriguez believes that Zapata Cantina will stand out among Greater Cincinnati’s Mexican cuisine offerings.

"What sets us apart is our devotion to producing authentic fare with only the best ingredients available. We are passionate to share our rich culture in this evolving and growing community," he said. 

Rodriguez’s father, Gary, is a restaurant veteran and co-owner of Zapata Cantina. Having immigrated to the United States in 1974, Gary Rodriguez has been in the business for more than forty years. In 2019, he was named the Ohio Restaurant Association’s Restaurateur of the year for the southern region of Ohio. 

Future plans include expansion of the Eighth Street sidewalk to accommodate outdoor dining. 

-Staff report

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