Mexico Viejo is open for the season with a new outdoor seating area, tequila bar and table-side guacamole. But one of its offerings has not changed, according to restaurant manager Juan Garcia.
“It’s the best view on the lake,” he said.
Mexico Viejo unveiled the changes when it opened in March. It will continue to be open every day until it closes in November for the season.
The views and amenities have had locals and visitors lining up to get a seat on the deck or inside overlooking Smith Mountain Lake.
In the past few years, the little Mexican grill and cantina on the water has had mixed reviews, but don’t tell that to the regulars. They love it.
“It’s a nice, friendly, comfortable atmosphere,” Kristin Warden said. “Great people, great service always, and it’s affordable.”
Warden lives in Moneta and said her family has come so often that they’ve become friends with the staff.
“They know our whole family, and we know theirs,” she said.
Garcia has worked at the Crazy Horse Marina location for five years. He stays busy talking to guests, cooking in the kitchen, mixing up fresh margaritas and ringing up customers. The staff bustles around refilling chips, salsa and drinks or handing out armfuls of hot plates.
“We try to do the best authentic Mexican food,” said Garcia.
The staff comes in a couple of hours before opening to start preparing fresh chips, salsas and sauces. Some of the more popular dishes are arroz con pollo and fish tacos, according to Garcia.
Garcia said he’s named a drink for one of his regulars called the “Gringo Loco.” It’s a shot of tequila in a bottle of Dos Equis.
Business at the restaurant is often dependent on the weather, he said. Many customers said they drive up to Mexico Viejo on their boats.
Crazy Horse Marina, under new ownership since March, is undergoing renovations. Manager Chris Bechtler has said it may take a couple of years before the long-neglected property is completely updated.
Mexico Viejo is one of several restaurants owned by Edfrain Aguirre; the others are called Rancho Viejo. But none is exactly like Mexico Viejo. They don’t come with the view.
Mexico Viejo is at 404 Crazy Horse Drive in Moneta. Hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, call 719-1000.