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Francisco Reyes, 46, and his family are looking forward to offering the traditional cuisine of his Mexican hometown of Oaxaca to diners when they open their first restaurant, La Catrina Bar & Lounge, in downtown Bethesda next month.
“We are passionate about gastronomy and customer service,” Reyes said. “We have always had the dream of having our own restaurant and now, thanks to God, together with our friends and partner, Steve Santos, and our chef, Ismael Galguera, we are making this dream come true.”
La Catrina Bar & Lounge at 4935 Cordell Ave. will be a two-story venue with the restaurant primarily on the main level and the lounge on the upper level. Reyes said he doesn’t have an exact date for the grand opening but will provide updated information on the restaurant’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Reyes has lived for 22 years in Prince George’s County, where he also started a small construction business, Reyes Drywall Services Inc., in 2006. He has three children and his wife, Lisveliz Liz Nunez, 33, co-owns the bar and lounge.
Reyes said he got the idea to start the restaurant after meeting Galguera.
“I was looking for good opportunities for a new project,” he said. “We have a good projection — we plan to serve authentic Mexican food from Oaxaca.”
According to Reyes, they plan to offer DJs and live music on the upper level as well as having the area available to rent for events.
Reyes’s oldest daughter, Christine, who expects to help him at La Catrina, said her dad is always looking to try new ventures.
“He’s really open to a lot of opportunities in life, aside from having his construction business,” she said. “We just like to go for it.”
The grand opening of the bar and lounge will include music, dancing and a giveaway the week prior.
“A week before the opening, the whole week, we’re going to be giving out free food to people in the neighborhood and the community around there,” Reyes said.
The menu is expected to include both shrimp and octopus ceviches, fajitas and some vegan options that are still being finalized, according to Reyes. There will also be a kids’ menu featuring chicken tenders, sandwiches and empanadas.
Reyes said providing quality service will be a priority at La Catrina.
“Our purpose is to give the best possible service and attention to our customers and meet all the expectations of our beautiful community of Bethesda,” Reyes said.
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