cinco de mayo celebrations in westchester

It is the largest Mexican-American Cultural Celebration and it takes place on Friday, May 5th this year, highlighted with Mexican food and entertainment. Mexican restaurants all over the area are preparing their most exciting traditional specialties for their patrons, some for an extended period of time. The Mariachi will be out in force, too, serenading the crowds. Historically, Cinco de Mayo commemorates The Battle of Puebla back in 1862, when the Mexican army surprisingly defeated French forces. Here in the States, the festivities include families and restaurants. If you want to participate, here are some suggestions…

This year’s outdoor event will take place on Mamaroneck Avenue and East Post Road on Sunday, May 7, from 1 to 6 pm. It will be an afternoon of fun for the whole family. The first 250 guests who purchase a $5 wristband, which allows for drinking outdoors (must be 21 or older), will receive a free sombrero. There will be prize drawings, too. Sponsors including Corona and Modelo will provide live Mexican entertainment and crafts all day. There will also be plenty of food from local restaurants and taverns like Lola’s Mexican Kitchen, Sundance Kitchen, Hudson Grille, Lilly’s and Brazen Fox. There is plenty of municipal parking in the area. Enjoy the Fiesta!

Rio Bravo is a fine choice for Cinco de Mayo: a sprawling 200-seat environment strewn with colorful Mexican art and artifacts, and multiple seating areas with a big galloping bar/lounge for socializing. Brothers Edgar and Hector Brambila also operate a Rio Bravo in Fairfield, CT. and another in Westport. The menu is loaded with flavorful surprises: Milanesa chicken tacos, hand-battered fried chicken wrapped in a tortilla covered with melted cheese, roasted poblano crema, pico de gallo and mixed cabbage; Torero steak fajitas – a giant portion of wood-grilled marinated skirt steak; Southwestern Caesar salad – a spicy twist to the traditional Caesar with corn, tomatoes, cotija cheese and chicken Milanesa, tossed with chipotle-ranch dressing; and Square Knot Salmon – achiote and lemon seared salmon with roasted pineapple. General manager Omar and his staff will take good care of you. Happy Hours in the galloping bar/lounge Monday thru Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm feature half-price house drinks and appetizers. Taco Tuesdays offer $1 tacos at the bar. Large selection of Tequilas at the bar and you can also build your own Margarita. 1879 Palmer Ave., Larchmont 914-341-1546;

This Mexican restaurant offers dramatic views of the East Branch Reservoir and an outdoor patio for relaxing and picture taking. There are plenty of window seats and a fireplace room for comfort, too. They will be offering a Mexican Buffet all day for $25 per person, and it’s all you can eat. They also plan Mariachis, DJ and dancing, and drink specials at their big bar. Look for such kitchen specialties as: El Aquacate, avocado stuffed with crabmeat and shrimp; Carnitas, 3 soft pork tacos; Vegetable Fajitas, and Sinaloa, jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon stuffed with Manchego cheese. Ample free parking. 1250 Rt. 22, Brewster 845-279-4646;

For Cinco de Mayo, Mexican food and culture meld beautifully with celebration and big, sprawling Rancho Grande Mexican Restaurant in the Highridge Shopping Plaza along Central Park Avenue. Owner Mary Maloney and general manager and host Jose Perez are ready to take you on their tasty south-of-the-border tour. It is a multi-faceted 320 seat-dining room and bar/lounge strewn with colorful art and artifacts. There is a lot of flavor in the Botanita Grande – a combination platter of nachos, dry quesadilla, flautas, guacamole, chorizo, pico de gallo and sour cream; Guacamole prepared tableside; sizzling Fajitas with your choice of fillings; Alambre Mar Y Tierra, steak, chicken, shrimp, with mixed vegetables, white rice and chile poblano sauce; and the Paella Luisita. There is a vegetarian version, too. Daily Happy Hours run from 4 to 7 pm. Weekend entertainment schedule. Off-premise catering. Private party facilities. Free parking. 1789 Central Park Ave., Yonkers 914-337-3056;

This bustling dining room with open kitchen and outdoor deck with umbrella tables overlooking the Byram River has become a favorite spot for young and old who enjoy south-of-the-border flavors galore. Their signature four-inch tacos and bibb lettuce wraps come with a variety of fillings. Favorites include: Baja fish, cauliflower with Romesco sauce, fried oyster, and duck with tamarind glaze. Popular kitchen dishes include: rotisserie chicken, tuna poke and mahi mahi ceviche. Plenty of specialty cocktails and beers. Municipal parking. 1 Willet Ave., Port Chester 914-937-8226;

Don’t let the simplicity of this dining room fool you. The Mexican specialties coming out of this kitchen are top notch and loaded with flavor. Enjoy their fresh made enchilada and taco combinations, Camarones a la Diabla, jumbo shrimp seared in a spicy sauce served with tortilla; delicious Chiles Rellenos, queso blanco cheese filled poblano peppers in a tomato broth; and Parillada Tradicional, with steak, shrimp, pork, cactus and onions. Bar & cocktails. Municipal parking. 10 Warburton Ave., Yonkers 914-920-5900;

Morris Gut

Morris Gut

Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at 914-235-6591 or
Morris Gut

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