Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victorious end of the 1862 Battle of Puebla, in which the underdog Mexican militia defeated occupying French forces. The holiday has since become a symbol of Mexican heritage and pride; a celebration that has become one of the biggest parties of the year. More importantly, it’s a cultural piece of Minnesota’s fabric and a major day for communities all across the Twin Cities. It’s a time to appreciate and indulge in the vibrant flavors from south of the border. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with delicious food from these local restaurants.
El Burrito Mercado
175 Cesar Chavez St., Suite 2
St. Paul, MN 55107
A temple to everything Mexico, you can find groceries, kitchenware, art and food. An icon in District del Sol, the heart of the community and in the midst of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration, El Burrito Mercado serves up hot food that will make you forget about everything else. There’s quick service at the counter, or sit down in the restaurant/bar area in the back of the building and grab a margarita with your food. If you want a Mexican vacation without ever leaving St. Paul, this is where you’ll find it.
Barrio Tequila Bar
925 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Both the Minneapolis and St. Paul locations are sure to be wild. If you’re looking for tequila, the selection at Barrio is the largest in the state. Tapas and street food make up the upscale food menu, and the modern twists on Mexican classics, like the Dos Equis beer battered Mahi Mahi tacos, made with citrus-cucumber pico de gallo, make for exciting eats on Cinco de Mayo. If you’re not looking to drink your tequila straight, there is the long list of highly original house margaritas to wash down your meal.
Boca Chica Restaurante
11 Cesar Chavez St.
St. Paul, MN 55107
One of the oldest Mexican restaurants, and one of the original anchors of St. Paul’s District Del Sol neighborhood, Boca Chica is a tex-mex paradise. Brightly colored décor, smells of spicy chorizo tacos, fried beans and rice, guacamole – all of the food you’re craving has been made the same way since the restaurant was founded in 1964. Weekend brunch, a never-ending buffet of spicy and savory dishes coupled with sweet baked goods, is a must-try. But since Cinco de Mayo falls on a Monday this year, you’ll have to enjoy the hearty lunch buffet instead.
Related: Best Of MN Mexican Food
El Nuevo Rodeo
2709 E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
A giant party even on normal nights, El Nuevo Rodeo really turns up the heat on Lake Street for Cinco de Mayo. Three floors offer dance music, drinks and food, and all three floors are sure to be packed (if you’ve ever been on the weekend, you can only imagine what this holiday will look like). Come early for dinner. Once you’ve had your fill of oozing queso fundido and savory carne asada, head upstairs to dance the night away. A margarita should help get the party started.
1751 Suburban Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55106
A large menu of Mexican classics makes dinner at any of Los Ocampo’s three locations special. For Cinco de Mayo, indulge a little and try a few different things on the menu. The kitchens are open until midnight on May 5th, so take a break from the social activities and grab a late bite. There’s nothing like fresh Mexican food after hours of dancing and drinking.
Related: Best Tortas In The Twin Cities
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.