Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Local Restaurants

by | May 2024

Fajitas from Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant.

Fajitas from Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant. Photos: Chris Emeott

Taste the flavors of Mexico this Cinco de Mayo.

Many Americans think that the May 5 holiday Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day, but alas, it’s actually a celebration of the 1862 victory of the Mexican army over the French invasion in Pueblo, Mexico. May 5 is also known as Battle of Puebla Day. The first Cinco de Mayo celebration in the U.S. was held in California in 1863, but it wasn’t until the 1940s when it really picked up when the Chicano Movement, also known as El Movimiento, was in full force. The movement encouraged Mexican-Americans to embrace their culture in the U.S.

Today, the U.S. celebration is much larger than that in Mexico, and it’s a little known fact that the day is celebrated so widely in the U.S. that the consumption of beer alone rivals that of Super Bowl Sunday or St. Patrick’s Day.

Let’s take some time and get to know the Maple Grove Cinco de Mayo scene and what it has to offer.

For a unique take on traditional Mexican food, head over to Rojo Mexican Grill—it’s the second location for the Rojo Mexican Grill, which opened at the end of April last year. “We chose Maple Grove because it is a place that is always thriving and the perfect place to put a second restaurant,” says Michael Bergman, general manager.

Taco Plate from Rojo Mexican Grill.

Taco Plate from Rojo Mexican Grill.

This restaurant prides itself on being a scratch kitchen where many ingredients are fresh and made in-house. Rojo uses proprietary blends of Mexican spices to create recipes that ultimately add a new twist on the traditional food we all know and love—instead of traditional Spanish rice, Rojo swaps in sweet rice. Each taco is also topped with an interesting slaw that you likely won’t find elsewhere. Don’t forget your sip—the Rojo Cadillac Margarita includes top shelf tequila, triple sec and a house margarita mix, served in a hand-blown glass from Mexico.

Rojo is hosting a Cinco de Mayo block party to celebrate in front of the restaurant. Not only will it serve margaritas and beer, there will also be cornhole matches and live music. If the weather doesn’t hold out, head inside to try one of the 122 tequilas!

For an authentic Mexican family atmosphere, visit El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant. This Mexican food mainstay opened in Maple Grove in 2008 after an in-depth search of the entire state of Minnesota. “A friend told me that Maple Grove was the best city to open a Mexican restaurant because, at the time, there wasn’t a Mexican restaurant, and the city was going to grow up in the future,” says manager Jose Rojas. “My friend was right. This is the best city in Minnesota.”

Burrito del Rodeo from El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant.

Burrito del Rodeo from El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant.

Since its inception, the family-owned group prides itself on using and preparing only authentic Mexican recipes handed down within the family. They are known for the Burrito del Rodeo, which is filled with seasoned beef or chicken; covered with cheese and red salsa; and served with rice, beans, lettuce, shredded cheese and sour cream. Fajitas are also diners’ favorites. The restaurant has specials daily and nightly, vegetarian options and much more. For Cinco de Mayo, stop by for special 15 oz. margaritas.

Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant is known for its flaming fajitas—served on fire!—created with a combination of chicken, steak, onions, tomatoes and bell peppers, covered with shredded cheese and served flaming. As a fan-favorite menu item, it is often paired with the Ultimate Margarita, which is made with Herradura anejo tequila, Grand Marnier and Cointreau.

Heidi and Luis Ortiz opened this family-oriented restaurant in 2020 during the heart of COVID-19. “We chose Maple Grove because there was only one other Mexican restaurant in town,” Heidi Ortiz says. At Riviera Maya, the Ortiz family’s goal is to make customers feel like they’re on a relaxing vacation in Riviera Maya. From the food to the ambiance to the music, it’s an easy “trip” to the Caribbean coastline.

What might be the best “special” among all these restaurant owners is the shared feeling of community. “We are all friendly and visit each other’s restaurants,” Ortiz says.

Rojo Mexican Grill
12489 Elm Creek Blvd.; 952.600.7957

El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant
13572 80th Circle N.; 763.493.4443

Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant
7904 Main St.; 763.355.5340


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