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El Azteca has been a staple in Chautauqua for a long time, but it has drifted to a new location not too long ago, after the original building burned down. But fans of the great, authentic Mexican cuisine have followed it from Fairmount Avenue in Lakewood to Falconer, on the border of Jamestown.
“I like food,” said the owner, Louise Rodriguez concerning his reason for opening El Azteca in the first place. “And I wanted to share my love of food with the rest of the town. I wanted to give everyone a different taste of Mexico than what other places have given.”
Rodriguez and his family moved to the U.S. from Mexico when he was only six years old. They eventually entered the restaurant business down south. Now the family has found happiness in their new location, and they have been going strong ever since.
“My favorite part of owning a restaurant is making my own schedule,” Rodriguez said. “And it’s a family restaurant, so you don’t have a whole lot of people telling you exactly what to do. It’s fun and exciting, owning a restaurant.”
El Azteca moved to Falconer in 2017, and its loyal fans followed after them. “Everyone has been staying with us since we moved,” Rodriguez said, also referring to his employees. “We’re just one big family here, and we sincerely appreciate the people and families who come in and support us.”
The Mexican restaurant is now situated at 332 West Main Street in Falconer, right outside of Jamestown. Certain regulars who visit weekly say it is a more convenient location. When the fire closed the original El Azteca in Lakewood, Rodriguez added, many regular customers felt devastated. But like a phoenix, they have risen again, and the Rodriguez family believes, better than ever.
“We actually moved around a lot before coming to Jamestown,” Louise reminisced. “We moved from Tennessee to Ohio, and eventually we settled in New York. We really liked the community in Lakewood, and we had a great location there, so we wanted to stay in the area.”
Louise and his family are easy-going and friendly people for whom success and comfort in business seem natural.
The restaurant itself offers two separate dining areas and a relaxed and engaging atmosphere. The menu is widely varied, and even offers something for those who might want to try something other than Mexican food. Regulars and first-time visitors say they cannot recommend El Azteca enough. One said, “you can’t go wrong with getting cheese dip with your chips. You won’t be disappointed.”