Los Toltecos Serving Up New Menu, Authentic Mexican Atmosphere
LAKE RIDGE, Va. — A Mexican restaurant in Lake Ridge is under new management and has a new colorful way of welcoming its customers.
Los Toltecos in The Glenn Shopping Center has completely redone its dining room with new light fixtures, tables and chairs, as well as new art – from life-sized giraffes, murals, and oversized masks – all are bright and colorful, authentic items imported here from Mexico.
There’s a real tropical feel here… I literally tried to bring back the feel of the real Mexico,” said general manager Alejandro Lopez.
Since taking over in February, Lopez has made making the Los Toltecos in Lake Ridge a viable, successful restaurant. He drives to Lake Ridge each day from his home in Frederick, Md. to work at the eatery, and he says daily drink specials from 3 to 8 p.m., World Cup games on TV, and a newly revamped menu have brought in customers willing to give the place a second try.
Lopez says turning around the restaurant hasn’t been easy. The corner eatery in 2009 had developed a reputation as a nightclub and was often the scene of late-night parking lot fights, said Lopez.
Since then, a glass partition was erected to separate the non-smoking bar from the restaurant. It keeps out the noise of sports on TVs and loud music from the dining room while allowing bar guests to enjoy a fun atmosphere filled with salsa music.
The restaurant manager says he printed menus and took them to area businesses and schools and asked people to give his restaurant a second try. He said the push has won over a few new fans.
One of the best new dishes on the menu is the Toltecos Parrillada – two pieces of carne asada, chicken, covered in cheese and chorizo sausage, served with rice, beans, and corn or flour tortillas for $15.95. It’s one of over 50 menu options all made with fresh ingredients that cost more but taste better, said Lopez.
While Lopez is from Mexico and returns every few months to see family and brush up on recipes, he comes Northern Virginia from Wisconsin where he says there is fierce competition in the Mexican restaurant business.
“You go to Chicago and Wisconsin and there are Mexican restaurants on every corner,” he said. It’s not like that here in Northern Virginia, he adds.
There are five Los Toltecos locations in Northern Virginia including Lake Ridge, one in Winchester, and one in Maryland. The restaurant hopes to expand into the fine dining market with a new concept called “Senor Tequila’s” and into the fast-food market with their take on something like Chipotle called “Mr. Burritos.”
Los Toltecos in Lake Ridge is located at 4120 Merchant Plaza.