The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 12, 2014

Clinton eatery showcases authentic Mexican food

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Travelers along Lincoln Way in Clinton may notice something a little different about the building occupying the 1841 address — like the bright orange paint covering its exterior walls.

That’s because what for years used to be Godfather’s Pizza is now Clinton’s newest Mexican dining establishment, Cinco de Mayo.

The authentic Mexican restaurant opened in January and already has some locals intrigued with the change.

“Business has been good,” general manager and part-owner Jose Cortes said. “Customers love the food and really like the decor.”

With all the furniture imported from Mexico, Cinco de Mayo offers a look into the country’s food, people and culture.

In wanting to offer that distinct look, Cortes transformed the former Godfather’s Pizza with an extensive remodel that included the addition of a bar to serve specialty drinks and margaritas, hand-designed booth dividers and a new color pallet to welcome guests.

The renovations took approximately two months before Cortes was able to open the doors to Cinco de Mayo.

“It was important to have Mexican style,” Cortes said. “We wanted to make sure we brought that Mexican culture to the restaurant.”

Creating an authentic look was half the battle. The other half was presenting authentic Mexican food.

Cinco de Mayo’s menu offers a large selection of Mexican classics made-to-order like enchiladas, burritos and of course tacos, but Cortes says the best dish they serve is their Molcajete.

The term molcajete traditionally refers to a Mexican cooking tool used to crush and grind different food items and spices, but at Cinco de Mayo it is a dish that offers shrimp, beef, chicken and chorizo served with onions, tomatoes, lettuce, jalapeno peppers, pico de gallo, sour cream, rice, beans and flour or corn tortillas.

“It is one of the best dishes we have, and one of the best ones around,” Cortes said.

In addition to offering signature dishes, and a variety of grill favorites, Cinco de Mayo also hosts an array of daily specials including lunch and dinner deals as well as Monday and Tuesday offers of $2.99 and $4.99 lime margaritas.

“Word of mouth has been happening a lot, so we hope that keeps going,” he said. “People in Clinton are really nice and we’d like to stay here for a long time.”

Cinco de Mayo is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.