Once the weather breaks in Central Ohio, it's all about finding an excuse to sit on a sunny patio where, drink in hand, we can strike a blow to our communal winter vitamin-D deficiency.
Once the weather breaks in Central Ohio, it’s all about finding an excuse to sit on a sunny patio where, drink in hand, we can strike a blow to our communal winter vitamin-D deficiency.
Enter Cinco de Mayo, which means something very different here than in Mexico.
“It’s one of America’s biggest party nights, but it’s nothing” for Mexicans, said Juan Alvarez, manager of La Fogata Grill in Pickerington. The Battle of Puebla, which was fought on May 5, 1862, “was this small little fight,” he said, between Mexican troops and the French Army.
The Mexicans won. Ironically, they don’t really do much to celebrate. But north of the border, Mexican bars and restaurants roll out the drink specials and live music. And Americans turn out en force.
“It’s crazy here,” said Johnny Diaz, manager of Cazuela’s at the corner of Lane Avenue and High Street near Ohio State.
It’ll be standing-room only on Cazuela’s shaded, raised-brick patio, but most patrons won’t mind.
“People don’t even want to sit,” Diaz said. “They stand, drink, dance and have a good time.”
Expect shot girls, half-priced appetizers and drink specials — like 24-ounce Coronas for $4.50 and jumbo lime margaritas for $5.50 — from 11 a.m. on May 5 to 2 a.m. the next morning. DJs and live music will alternate all day, said Diaz.
Alvarez said he anticipates revelers to pack the newly renovated patio at La Fogata. Cast-iron tables shaded by umbrellas and trees, wind chimes and terracotta pottery give the patio a secluded Mayan-Riviera feel.
Several bands will play beachy Jimmy Buffett-style music starting around 1 p.m., and the restaurant will offer drink and appetizer specials (bucket of five Coronas for $10) and T-shirt giveaways, Alvarez said. Patio seating is first come, first served.
“Every single year, people don’t sit. They’re dancing with pitchers of margaritas in their hands,” Alvarez said. “It’s going to be wild.”
2247 N. High St., Campus
Trying to decide what to pair with your Modelo Especial? Try the Mexican Style Tacos al Pastor. The seasoned pork is served on two corn tortillas, topped with chopped onion, cilantro and lime.
La Fogata Grill Pickerington
1849 Winderly Ln., Pickerington
You’ll want to try Alvarez’s personal favorite menu item, the La Fogata Fireballs — eight pieces of shrimp rolled in bacon with cheese and jalapenos, then deep-fried and served with cheese fries. Whoa.