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Best Places to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Utica – Eric Meier’s Top Five

We’ll celebrate Cinco de Mayo on Thursday.  The Mexican holiday is a celebration of a military victory over the French.  In honor of the holiday, here are my top 5 best places to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

1-El Canelo in Oneida

elcanelo.com

The El Canelo chain has a few restaurants in the region including Oneida, Utica and Syracuse.  I’ve been to all three (plus when traveling, I’ve hit up locations in Erie and Buffalo-yeah I really like El Canelo).

I find the Oneida location to be the best.  They do fresh guac and salsa.  Despite the amazing smells wafting off the sizzling fajitas plates, we actually go vegetarian here.  The have a veg friendly menu with beans and meat-free tacos and tostadas.

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2-Rio Grande Tex Mex Grill in Washington Mills

Rio Grande via Facebook

Rio Grande does the best Tex-Mex in the area.  The place has a great feel of a south Texas roadside cantina with licence plates and posters on the wall and great music always piped though the joint.  I don’t stray too far away from the pork carnitas burrito.  The flash-fried pig always always hits the spot.  Rio Grande also is the only place around where I can find tomatillo salsa.  The smokey side dish and the fresh chips make the meal here.

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3-Burrito Jonz in Utica

Burrito Jonz via Facebook

Burrito Jonz started in the Adirondack Bank building downtown and now have moved into roomier accommodations on French Road in Utica.  Burrito Jonz does a California take on Mexican.  If you’re at the bars for Cinco de Mayo (or any other weekend night for that matter), Burrito Jonz is a favorite late night haunt in Utica as they are open until 3AM Thursday through Saturday.

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4-Bennu Cafe in Whitesboro

Bennu Cafe
Bennu Cafe via Facebook

Despite Bennu is not fully Mexican, as they also offer deli options, their assortment of burritos are very good.  I go with the pork burrito and it comes overstuffed with all the goodies.  Bennu has the added bonus of alfresco seating on the sidewalk at the Whitestown Center.  Tag on the comp chips and salsa and you’ll do Cinco proud!

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5-Lava Nightclub at Turning Stone

Lava Night Club
Lava Night Club via Facebook

I just realized that my last four Cinco de Mayo celebration options are all great restaurants.  After all that food, you’ll need somewhere to dance it off, of course I suggest Lava at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona.  Don your sombrero and get ready for a full night of fun.  Not sure if they’ll be doing the Mexican Hat Dance that evening?

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