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Margarita's Bar & Grill opens in West Duluth

Mexico Lindo’s sister location is serving up a similar menu of authentic Mexican cuisine in the Spirit Valley neighborhood.

Three women visiting.
Cynthia Gronroos, from left, Marie Weber and Marge Martin visit before ordering lunch at Margarita’s on Tuesday.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — Authentic Mexican cuisine is now available in West Duluth at Margarita's Bar & Grill . Known as the sister location of Mexico Lindo in the Fitger's complex, Margarita's opened Aug. 8 at 4602 Grand Ave. in the former location of G.B. Schneider & Co.

Margarita's offers seating for nearly 130 people in the 4,600 square-foot space. The dining area was newly remodeled to include a Dia los Muertos mural, created by local artist Taylor Rose.

Mural showing the day of the dead.
A mural depicting Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) covers a wall in one section of Margarita’s.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

Owner Lorena Velez said Mexico Lindo and Margarita's offer similar menu items to keep the food as traditional to her heritage as possible.

Originally from Ecuador, Velez moved to Mississippi 22 years ago as a foreign exchange student. After high school, she stayed to attend Mississippi College, and in 2003, she began working at a Mexican restaurant to pay for tuition. With the support of her employer, she earned a bachelor's degree in business administration, and went on to complete her master's degree in 2008.

Cancer survivor Dennis Thielke and his wife Ashley look forward to sharing their flavorful new outlook on life with the community through their adjacent Lincoln Park businesses.

After moving to Minnesota in 2012, she began working at Mexico Lindo, where she learned various aspects of the kitchen. There, she began reworking recipes without changing the essence of the food, she said. When the previous owner's lease expired, Velez decided to purchase Mexico Lindo in May 2020.

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"And that is how Mexico Lindo came to be my house," Velez said. "It's home. My restaurants are about feeling at home. My hope is that customers feel welcome and that they enjoy the food."

A plate of fajitas.
A steaming plate of chicken and beef fajitas sits on a table at Margarita’s on Tuesday.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

On a typical day, Velez and the main chef can be found between the kitchens of each restaurant cooking up sauces and meats to ensure food between locations tastes similar. Some of her favorite dishes to make are chiles rellenos, chimichangas and quesadillas.

Since 2019, Duluth employment has dropped 10% in retail and 18% in restaurant industries.

"I love it, especially when I'm not super busy and when I have the time to give it the extra touch," Velez said.

Both of her parents were influential to her passion for serving up traditional meals, as everyone in her family enjoys cooking, Velez said. Her entire family is involved with the restaurant, including her husband from Jalisco, Mexico, and their three children.

"They are always with me. My oldest is 14 and she helps in front of house as a host. My middle is 11 and loves to help prep by cutting green peppers, and my little one is 4 and plays with cars on the floor," Velez said. "The kitchen is the center of families. We all gather around the kitchen, whether your house is big or small. Growing up, I was introduced to all kinds of meals. Mexico Lindo is more of a passion."

Margarita's sign.
Margarita’s incorporated the Aerial Lift Bridge in its sign.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

The family's decision to open a second restaurant was to test if their type of food was needed somewhere else in Duluth. Velez said she loves the homey feel of the Spirit Valley neighborhood.

"Margarita's has been received very well by a lot of locals. Instead of the downtown traffic and construction, it's a place they can just drive up to. Customers have been pretty steady," Velez said.

Margarita's is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Brielle Bredsten is the business reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.

She earned a bachelor's degree in Professional Writing & Technical Communication, with minors in Advertising and Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University, in addition to a two-year professional paid internship as reporter/editor of the student newspaper.

She is an award-winning professional writer, photographer and editor based in rural Minnesota. Over the past decade, Brielle Bredsten has contributed more than 1,000 articles, feature stories, non-profit press-releases, photographs and columns. Her work has been published in several community newspapers.

Send her story tips, feedback or just say hi at bbredsten@duluthnews.com.
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