New Town Mexican restaurant El Tapatio closed, plans to re-open under a new name

Staff writer

After closing El Tapatio Mexican restaurant in New Town in mid-May, general manager Frankie Ledezma said he expects to reopen it as a Jose Tequilas Mexican restaurant.

Ledezma said his family operates El Tapatio along with six Jose Tequilas restaurants across Hampton Roads and in Maryland, including a location on Bypass Road. They also run Señor Fox Mexican restaurant in Virginia Beach.

He said the decision was made to temporarily close the restaurant to rebrand it under the Jose Tequilas banner in an effort to make the restaurants more uniform. El Tapatio originally opened on Courthouse Street in late 2013, he said.

“It just made sense,” Ledezma said. “We have a location close to it, and it’s more cost-effective to order things like T-shirts and menus in higher quantities instead of having the designated El Tapatio branding for stuff.”

He said his family is renegotiating the terms of their lease at the New Town restaurant, but he hopes to have it reopened as a Jose Tequilas Mexican restaurant by the end of the year.

“We just want to renegotiate that and be on the same page as the leasing company to make it a beneficial agreement for everybody,” Ledezma said.

Drew Haynie, first vice president at Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, wrote in an email that the owners of El Tapatio are current under the terms of their lease.

Opus 9 and Cafe Provencal win Wine Spectator magazine award

Local restaurants Opus 9 Steakhouse and Cafe Provencal were both recently recognized for their wine menus by Wine Spectator magazine as part of its 2019 Restaurant Awards.

The two area restaurants were among 3,800 Restaurant Award winners hailing from across the U.S. and 79 countries internationally, a news release from the magazine states. Opus 9 and Cafe Provencal both won the magazine’s Award of Excellence, which recognizes restaurants with a wine selection that features a quality assortment of producers.

Opus 9 Steakhouse, located in James City County, has won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence since 2008, while Cafe Provencal has won the award since 2014, according to the Wine Spectator website.

“We’re pleased to shine a spotlight on the destinations around the world that show devotion to their wine program, while also creating a comprehensive global dining guide for our readers to enjoy,” Wine Spectator Editor and Publisher Marvin R. Shanken said in the release. “Both novice wine lovers and seasoned sommeliers alike actively seek and frequent restaurants with exciting, well-curated wine lists.”

For more information about the Wine Spectator magazine Restaurant Awards, visit

Carrabba’s Italian Grill to hold back-to-school fundraiser

Carrabba’s Italian Grill restaurants across the country — including the Italian restaurant chain’s Williamsburg location — will host a back-to-school fundraiser on Wednesday for the Kids In Need Foundation, a nonprofit focused on providing free school supplies to students who need them.

The restaurant will donate $2 to the foundation for every four-course wine dinner sold on Wednesday night, according to a company news release.

“We are thrilled to partner with KINF and support its important, local work in each of our Carrabba’s Italian Grill communities,” Carrabba’s Italian Grill President Mike Kappitt said. “Our guests share Carrabba’s long standing mission to give to those in need and we look forward to raising much needed funds for KINF through our fundraising efforts.”

Although the fundraiser will be held at locations around the country, Carrabba’s and KINF will work to allocate funds to area schools by matching local restaurants with teachers who have current applications on, the release states. Supply A Classroom is a Kids In Need Foundation program where teachers can apply to receive free supplies for their classrooms.

Additionally, diners at Carrabba’s Italian Grill can choose to round up their checks through Sunday to make an individual donation to the nonprofit.

“As back to school season approaches, we are on a mission to ensure every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom,” Kids In Need Foundation Executive Director Dave Smith said in the release.

The Back-to-School Dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill is Wednesday starting at 6:30 p.m. The four-course wine dinner costs $40 per person, plus tax and tip. For more information, visit Carrabba’s Italian Grill’s Williamsburg restaurant is at 2500 Richmond Road.

Rodrigo Arriaza,, 757-790-9313, @rodrigoarriaza0

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