Owners of popular local Mexican food trucks plan to open a full-service restaurant in Crystal Lake later this month.
Mario and Anita Ortiz recently moved to Crystal Lake, but their “Mario’s Cart” food trucks have been operating in McHenry County for nearly a decade.
Now Anita says they have the opportunity to open a new restaurant near their home.
“We want to have a really good, cool Mexican vibe,” Anita said of the next restaurant, which will simply be called “Mario’s” but will retain the most popular items from the food truck menu: burritos and tacos.
While the food trucks will continue to operate, the restaurant will also offer sit-down dishes such as fajitas, shrimp diablo and other Mexican favorites, Anita said.
“We are thrilled,” said Anita. “We are a little overwhelmed at the moment, but everything is falling into place. The ambience of the restaurant is everything I wanted.
Mario’s will have a margarita bar, outdoor patio and weekly karaoke nights, Anita said, adding that the interior will have artwork themed around Dia De Los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” the counterpoint mexican halloween.
“If you go in, you’ll see a lot of skeletons dancing with musical instruments,” Anita said.
The owners originally opened a restaurant in Northbrook, Mario’s Comida Fresca, inside the Northbrook Court shopping center, and Anita said ‘everything went downhill’ in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the closure of the restaurant.
So far, the restaurant has been lucky with new hires, Anita said, although the company is still looking for people for the restaurant and its food trucks.
The Ortiz’ hope to open the restaurant on Friday, June 24, and Anita said they are planning some fun specials for their opening weekend, including margarita giveaways.
Mario’s is located at 1145 Route 31 in Crystal Lake and, once open, will have hours Tuesday through Sunday, the website says.
For more information on the new restaurant or “Mario’s Cart,” readers can visit https://www.marioscart17.com/.