Local restaurants prepare to celebrate Cinco de Mayo amid ongoing pandemic

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Restaurants across the city are offering deals and discounts on drinks, tacos and more.

Many restaurants told FOX13 they’ve made some adjustments to safely handle crowds during the ongoing pandemic.

Over the last year, restaurants have endured many challenges with losses in revenue, staffing issues and even shutdowns due to COVID-19.

Several restaurants told us they have made accommodations inside and out of their restaurants to handle the crowd of Cinco De Mayo.

Mexican Restaurant owners told us just like all other restaurants last year came with a lot of difficulties centered around the loss of revenue.

Cesar Islas said hopefully Cinco De Mayo this year makes up for 2020.

“We make a lot of special plans for everything that’s happened with COVID19 with practicing social distance. We set up the restaurant in a way people can enjoy the food and drink on Cinco De Mayo,” Islas said.

Owners said a lot went into making sure Cinco De Mayo 2021 happens, from adding outdoor seating in the parking lot, making sure outdoor patios are comfortable, and indoor seating is socially distanced.

Bartenders at these restaurants said they are thankful for local and state lawmakers made to go drinks an option.

Managers said the move made sure many businesses stayed open. Islas says safety is first this Cinco De Mayo.

“Last year was crazy but this year we are happy for everyone to spend with us and make sure everyone has a great Cinco De Mayo,” Islas said.

It’s been a while since people have been able to fully enjoy Cinco De Mayo, or anything really, but many made up for it Wednesday.

“It’s Cinco De Mayo so what a great time, great day for everybody to be out and enjoy each other you know,” Eric Dunn said.

For Memphis, it’s another sign of returning to normalcy from the pandemic.

“Everybody’s been cooped up for so long,” Steve Liggines said. “It’s been raising the stress level for people.”

Liggines was at a packed Happy Mexican downtown, which had a festive vibe complete with a DJ.

“I’m not COVID scared,” Liggines said. “I take the necessary precautions and I’m hoping everybody is. Because we want to be safe with each other just so we don’t have a reoccurrence of what we just went through.”

It’s been a slow return.

And the next step could arrive next week, with FOX13 reporting that Shelby County’s mask mandate could possibly be lifted.

MORE: Shelby County mask mandate may end next weekend under new health directive

A new health directive is expected to be released May 12 and go into effect May 15.

“If you feel you need to wear your mask wear your mask,” Dunn said. “Normally I wear my mask when I’m walking into a restaurant. Then when I sit down I take my mask off.”

St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated last week.

The Redbirds games are back.

The barbeque championship next weekend and downtown is full of positive vibes.

Another step toward normalcy.

“Man I can finally see people,” Dunn said. “It feels real good to be out. Everybody’s having a good time.”

To make sure this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration happened, some restaurants installed extra outdoor seating and beefed up their patio areas. Indoor seating is also socially distanced.

  • Cesar Islas, from Cocina Mexicana Bar & Grill, said the restaurant is set up in a way for people to safely enjoy food and drinks for the holiday.
  • According to I Love Memphis Blog, Soccer City 901 is hosting a Cinco de Mayo party all day at 5560 Shelby Oaks Drive. They’ll be open until midnight with $1 house tequila shots, $4.99 jumbo margaritas and a happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Maciel’s is offering three tacos for $9 at both locations. Street tacos, seafood tacos and fajita tacos are included, according to the blog.
  • Rumba Room downtown has $5 margaritas, two-for-one tequila shots and $5 appetizers.
  • Slider Inn’s outdoor space is reopening today with all-day taco and drink specials.
  • Tug’s Casual Grill in Harbor Town is also offering food and drink specials
  • El Porton locations are offering online ordering for takeout during Cinco de Mayo, according to the blog.
  • Chapultapec Mexican Restaurant will have specials including an 8-10 person feat kit for takeout and online orders
  • Staks Pancake Kitchen’s two locations will offer a breakfast margarita and a strawberry margarita, according to the blog
  • You can also check out a Memphis Redbirds home game on Cinco de Mayo - $5 margaritas and 3-for-$5 street tacos will be available.
  • From Wednesday through Sunday, Hopdoddy’s East Memphis location is offering a fajita burger and churro fries.
  • New Wing Order food truck will debut their May special -lime tequila wings - at Meddlesome Brewing beginning at 4 p.m., according to the blog.