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May 6, 2014 primary election: Restaurant seeks liquor option

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The 2014 primary election will take place on Tuesday, May 6. The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The polling location is Antioch University Midwest (formerly McGregor), 900 Dayton St. for village precincts 440, 441, 442, 443 and Miami Township precinct 456 (west). For voters in township precinct 455 (east), polling is at Cedarville Grace Baptist Church, 109 N. Main Street in Cedarville.

Also appearing on the May 6 ballot is State Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow the state to issue up to $1.875 billion in bonds over 10 years to finance public infrastructure improvements on projects such as roads and bridges, water and waste water treatment systems, solid waste disposal facilities, and storm water and sanitary collection, storage and treatment facilities.

See also “May 6, 2014 primary election: Issue 3 supports village seniors”

Restaurant seeks liquor option

At 37, Tony Avalos already has 23 years experience in the restaurant business. He started working in a restaurant his brother managed in Fayetteville, N.C., at the age of 14, and by age 16 he owned his own restaurant in Martinsville, Va.

“I started at my brother’s restaurant. Three months later, I was serving food, three months later, I was the manager and three months after that, I was the owner,” he said in an interview this week.

After opening many other restaurants around the eastern U.S., starting in 1997 Avalos and his family (one brother and three sisters) decided to center their operations in Ohio. Under the name of Los Cabos Mexico, Inc., they run Mexican restaurants in Mount Vernon, Lancaster, Bellefontaine, Urbana, Defiance, Solon, Brunswick, Kent and formerly Columbus, all of which serve fresh, authentic pan-Mexican foods from the historic state of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico.

And if Avalos can win a local option for a liquor permit in next week’s primary election, he will also open Dona Margarota’s Mexican restaurant, at 1535 Xenia Ave., in the old KFC building at the south end of town.

Having spoken to quite a few local residents as he canvassed the southern part of the village in sub-zero weather to gather signatures for the ballot issue, Avalos has learned a lot about the village as a culturally curious place and believes that residents would be receptive to the kinds of foods his mother and grandmother cooked. He plans to offer standards such as mole and chiles rellenos, as well as more modern dishes, such as tlayuda, a plate-sized roasted tortilla layered with mole, refried beans, grilled meat and fresh veggies such as lettuce and avocado. He also plans to offer gluten-free tortilla options for those with allergies.

But one thing patrons need to be able to enjoy the true taste of Mexico, according to Avalos, is a nice glass of wine, beer or a good quality margarita.

Avalos is applying for a liquor permit in class D5, which according to the state Liquor Control Commission allows the restaurant to serve “spirituous liquors” (beverages over 21 percent alcohol by volume), beer and wine on the premises until 2:30 a.m., including carryout of prebottled beer and wine. The restaurant also needs voters’ approval to sell liquor on Sundays from 11 a.m. to midnight.

Because the village has filled its D5 permit quota with permits for The Winds Cafe and the Sunrise Cafe, the voters in the southern precinct 443 must approve the permit for Dona Margarota’s. Precinct 443 includes residents within village limits south of Allen Street, and also the block between Xenia Avenue, Herman and Livermore streets.

Yellow Springs has filled its restaurant liquor permit quotas and in 2008 voted in three over quota in classes D1, D2 and D3A for just beer, wine and mixed drinks and extended service of mixed drinks until 2:30 a.m. for Peach’s Grill. The Gulch, Ye Olde Trail Tavern, Yellow Springs Brewery, Village BP, Speedway, Underdog Cafe, S and G Artisan Distillery and Little Art Theatre Association are the other establishments that currently hold liquor licenses. Jim and Libby Hammond have a pending application for a D5 permit on file for their Mills Park Hotel, slated to be completed in summer 2015.

Los Cabos is known for its top notch margaritas, Avalos said.

“The secret is knowing how to make it from scratch,” Avalos said, adding that fresh lime juice is a given and proper tequila is key. The family business uses several brands, such as Patrón — a good silver aged about a year. But Don Julio has the coveted anejo tequila, aged four years, which Avalos said is the best. And to eat good food, one must also drink well, he said.

“It would be great for people to come to my place for delicious food, but I feel bad if I cannot offer nice wine, beer or margarita with that food,” he said. “That’s like saying I want a taco with no tortilla.”

Plans may change if the liquor permit is not granted, but if things go as hoped, Avalos said the building makeover would happen quickly and the restaurant would likely open in early summer.

Avalos plans to have 22 tables and a small bar inside and has already spoken to contractors about installing a 15–18-table outdoor patio against the south wall, where he hopes to have a mural by community artists and perhaps a performance stage. He also plans to invite Queretaro artist Rodrigo Onate to shape the space, inside and out, in contemporary Mexican design. For general operations, Avalos expects to hire about 10–15 people, some from Yellow Springs, and a chef from within the Los Cabos business group.

Though Yellow Springs is small, Avalos believes it is worldly enough to “support a very good restaurant.”

“By opening the restaurant, my goal is to let people feel they are basically in their home,” Avalos said. “It’s not high scale, nor fast food, but a family-owned restaurant.”

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