- The Place
A new Mexican restaurant has opened in downtown Lowell: El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill on Merrimack Street.
The family-run establishment has expanded from its location in Somerville, where the Interiano clan has been filling Union Square with enchiladas and mariachi music since 2006.
The new Lowell location is similar, especially in regards to the live mariachi music, which takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There's also a bar with 30 different types of tequila and 15 different kinds of Mexican beer.
- The People
Jason Interiano is just 19, but he's already worked almost a decade in the restaurant business, having grown up in the kitchen of the Somerville El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill.
"When it opened when I was 11, El Potro was just a small family business, more of a taqueria with no alcohol," said Interiano. "It really taught me values, since everyone in the family put so much time into it every day."
The family expanded El Potro in 2009, to great success. When a landlord approached them about opening a location on Merrimack Street, it was serendipitous -- El Potro's owner (and Jason's father) Elias Interiano has played at the Lowell Folk Festival as part of a mariachi band.
"We thought the downtown was turning around from an economic perspective, so we thought this would be a good time to take advantage," said Joe Carreiro, El Potro's business manager.
- The Food
El Potro prides itself on its fresh ingredients, which it orders daily from the surrounding area. The restaurant needs a lot of them, as their menu is chock-full of every type of Mexican food imaginable.
For starters, you can go for nachos smothered with cheese and beef or chicken, or the pupusas, a Salvadoran dish which features corn tortillas stuffed with three different blends of cheese, beans and sauces. Once you're done with those, you can try one of the nine burrito varieties, five different taco plates, six varieties of enchiladas, or an entree like the carne asada steak served with rice, beans, pico de gallo, guacamole and scallions. Just don't expect to keep your hands clean.
"It's a little messy, but if you were eating in Mexico, it would be messy there too," said Carreiro. "You can't be afraid to get your hands dirty when you're eating good Mexican food."
- The Cost
Appetizers run from as low as $2, while burritos run for about $9 and taco plates about $13. Most entrees fall in the same range, as do the margaritas. Imported beers are $4, while domestic beers are $3.50.
El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day at 124 Merrimack St. For information, visit ElPotroMexicanGrill.com or call 978-455-2840.
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