Where you decide to spend your Cinco-de-Mayo Saturday is all about what kind of atmosphere you’re looking for. So, being the self-proclaimed Mexican food connoisseur that I am, take it from me. You can find what you’re looking for this Cinco de Mayo at one of the three fine, moderately priced establishments below.
Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande Café
1827 Library Street, Reston, VA 20190
(Other locations in Gaithersburg, Bethesda, Ballston, Fairfax and Stonebridge)
Cinco de Mayo hours of operation: 10am to Midnight
Uncle Julio’s serves up a hybrid of Mexican cooking expertise with Texan ingredients, lending itself to a border-style cuisine that’s been enjoyed in the region for more than a hundred years. Uncle Julio’s pride themselves on using only the freshest ingredients in every dish.
To compliment the fresh ingredients, Uncle J delivers a specialty drink known as the Swirl: frozen margarita layered with frozen homemade sangria. And, let’s face it, a large part of the fun in celebrating Cinco de Mayo is about enjoying the delicious adult beverages of Mexico.
But if the atmosphere, cuisine and cocktails aren’t enough, Uncle Julio’s in Reston is hosting an all-day party. The outdoor seating will be blocked off for the event, a DJ will be in-house, and they’ll be whipping up some mean fajitas. Take note of the extended hours. This is the go-to place for a party.
13050 Fair Lakes Shopping Center, Fairfax, VA 22033
(Other locations in Gaithersburg, Arlington, Washington, D.C. and Bethesda)
Cinco de Mayo hours of operation: 10am to 11pm
A long time favorite of mine, you simply can’t go wrong with Guapo’s. Let me personally recommend the beef tacos. So simple, I know, but so delicious here. Normally, my go-to in most Mexican restaurants is, appropriately, fajitas. And they rock here, too. But the beef tacos are where it’s at. You can thank me later. As for the drinks, my friends always loved the marg’s, but I’m more of a Dos Equis girl myself.
Pre-pregnancy, I’ve celebrated many ‘a birthday parties, or just stopped by for a good thirsty Thursday. Post-baby, I know I can still walk in there with my six-month-old and enjoy a family style restaurant with good service and delicious food.
The fun and family-friendly, Mexican-style atmosphere, delicious tex-mex, speedy service, and good prices make for a great location to celebrate your Cinco de Mayo. (Other locations in Gaithersburg, Arlington, Washington, D.C. and Bethesda.)
Don’t forget about the beef tacos.
1727 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201
Cinco de Mayo hours of operation: 5pm to 11pm
For us suburbanites “all the way out here,” as I’m sure you’ve heard your friends lament on the rare occasion they come to visit, we’re used to taking a drive to get somewhere. So if you’re willing to hop in the car and head into Arlington this Cinco de Mayo, Guajillo Grill will make it worth the trip.
The first time I went to Guajillo’s (pronounced wa-he-yo), my then-fiancé took me for Valentine’s Day. He knows me all too well. It’s an intimate restaurant, and the seating is limited, so I strongly recommend reservations. But there’s no shortage of atmosphere.
And the food. Oh, the food. They present options across the different regions of Mexico. True to form (save my Guapo’s anomaly), I ordered fajitas. And for the first time after dining on Mexican fare, I didn’t feel uncomfortably full and bloated (TMI?). You can taste the difference. They use fresh ingredients and don’t overdo any sauces.
If you’ve got a date night on Cinco de Mayo but you don’t want to miss the celebrations, go Guajillos. You won’t be disappointed.
As for me…
While in previous years you could find me rocking my Cinco de Drinko shirt given to me by a close cousin, likely jiving at the joint with the all-day party, I foresee this year being a little different. As a new mom, I’ll be choosing the family spot. That way I’ll be adequately prepared to handle the typical 2am and 6am feedings. Have a Swirl for me.