Hospitality veteran Andy Hooper says his two favorite cuisines are Italian and Mexican. He already has Locale Italian Kitchen in Mountain’s Edge, and starting today, he opens El Luchador Mexican Kitchen + Cantina, taking over a former Burgerim space in the Mountains Edge Marketplace.
Hooper opened the 2,286-square-foot space fast after taking possession in mid-December. Diners can sit outside on the patio with room for 75 or pick up takeout orders at a separate window. He named the restaurant El Luchador, Spanish for the fighter, after WWE and WWF fighters he loved as a child in Tennessee.
Diners can start with house-made chips and bean dip made with pinto beans and a chorizo spice mix, or order table-side guacamole, queso dip, or nachos.
Five varieties of tacos span mahi mahi, grilled skirt steak, braised pork, crispy shrimp, tempura-battered cauliflower, or achiote-marinated chicken and come with three paired with rice and frijoles. Burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, and chimichangas — including the triple threat with adobo beef, chicken, or pork topped with three salsas in the colors of the Mexican flag — fill out the menu. Main courses on the short menu include arrachera steak, pollo asada, and pescado ala plancha, a crisp half dorade. Most items cost less than $20 with some of the bigger entrees and two of the fajita dishes going for the $20 mark.
Hooper hired chef Aaron Bryan, a Southern California native who spent a lot of time dining at Locale and dreaming of Mexican menus with him.
Behind the bar sit more than 80 tequilas with $10 shots of Don Julio 1942, Clase Azul Reposado, and Don Fulano Imperial featured on Sundays and Mondays.
El Luchador Mexican Kitchen + Cantina, 7825 Blue Diamond Road #101, 702-260-8709. Open daily from 4:30 to 9 p.m.