By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN If you liked El Cazador, chances are you’ll love Mucho Amigo.
“This place is two or three times the size, and we now have a license to sell all types of liquor,” owner Lupe Castro said.
Since Mucho Amigo opened at 248 River St. in Delano recently, Mexican-food enthusiasts have been bursting in to taste its zesty cuisine and authentic beverages.
“All my food is fresh,” Castro said. “People love our chimichangas, and we have the best margaritas in Delano.”
Many customers also recommend the Chihuahua burrito,
“The different levels of flavors of this burrito were amazing. I cannot get over it,” one online reviewer commented.
So far, Castro said he’s been seeing many of his El Cazador regulars, as well as several new faces.
“We have a lot of customers from all around St. Cloud, Waconia, Wayzata especially Fridays and Saturdays,” Castro said. “It was so busy our first couple weeks.”
Castro said he wasn’t anticipating the overflow of people at first, but now says, “I’m ready for everything.”
His goal is to provide as good or better service at Mucho Amigo as he did at El Cazador, which was located at 45 Babcock Blvd.
The El Cazador building had some heating problems last winter, Castro said, so he decided to start a restaurant in a new location.
He wanted to stay in the area in order to keep his customers, and he is pleased with his new location.
“We have the same pictures on the wall, and many of the same choices on the menu,” Castro said. “I hope all my customers will be coming back.”
Dishwasher to owner
Castro said he’s always enjoyed cooking, but he originally made his living in the construction industry.
His journey into the restaurant businesses happened nearly by accident, when he was living in Texas many years ago.
A friend who owned a large, successful restaurant called Fajita Flats needed someone to wash dishes, so Castro agreed to help out Friday and Saturday evenings.
“I cleaned thousands of plates,” Castro said, adding that the stacks of dirty dishes never seemed to end.
Castro, who worked his construction job from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and washed dishes from 5 p.m. to midnight, said he was always exhausted by the time his shift was over.
“After two months, I decided to learn how to prepare food instead,” Castro said. “It was not so tiring.”
Castro ended up liking food preparation so much that he eventually quit his construction job and worked full time at his friend’s restaurant.
“I’d work 40 hours a week, sometimes 65, and within four months, I knew how to prepare everything,” he said.
About five years ago, an opportunity arose to operate a restaurant in Minnesota (El Cazador), and Castro excitedly took on the challenge.
He had already developed a wide selection of menu items, which were the best taken from Mexican restaurants in Texas.
A ‘bueno’ location
Now, Castro said he is looking forward to continuing his restaurant business in its new location. Before Mucho Amigo opened, Castro said he spent about three months cleaning and renovating the building.
“Sometimes I’d get focused on something and work until two or three in the morning,” he said.
Mucho Amigo is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
For more information, call (763) 972-3950.