By Mark Horning

Cinco de Mayo began as an obscure south of the border celebration that celebrated the military victory of the Mexican militia over the French at the battle of Puebla in the year 1862. It traveled to the United States and since our melting pot tradition is to take these little known holidays and turn them into a reason to eat great food and drink lots of alcohol it has grown proportionately as all cultures gather to sample Mexican inspired food and drink. Here are some of the best spots to indulge your inner Mexican.

Maya Mexican Restaurant
368 West Bagley Road
Berea, OH 44017
(440) 239-0559

There many good reasons why Maya has faithful customers who have return time and time again over the past 11 years. The first is the friendly atmosphere where guests are treated like family by people who really love what they do. The second is the variety of over 80 distinct and different dishes that are authentically prepared by trained Mexican chefs. They serve authentic Mexican cuisine that includes soups, burritos, tacos, fajitas, appetizers, house specialties, vegetarian, and amazing desserts. There are daily specials posted just inside the door.  The real challenge is deciding what to eat from their extensive menu. You have not lived until you have tried the fried ice cream for dessert.  The restaurant also employs local Latinos as servers.

The restaurant offers a wide variety of foods from traditional to Tex-Mex to Vegetarian. Lastly, service is not only friendly, it is fast. The Restaurant also features a full service Cantina Bar offering margaritas, sangria, domestic, draft and Mexican beer, wines and Mexican bottled soft drinks. Hours are Mondays through Thursdays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturdays noon to 10:30 p.m. and Sundays noon to 9 p.m. There is also another location located at 7431 Ridge Road (just off Pleasant Valley) in Parma, Ohio. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with giant margaritas or a bucket of beers along with your meal.

2466 Fairmount
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
(216) 999-7714

Billed as “a good restaurant with a great bar,” Barrio has built a reputation among its four locations of having great food and service as well as a vast selection of tequila, whiskey and beer. A unique difference from other eateries is their “Craft You Own Tacos” that allows the customer to custom design their taco, bowl or guac with as many or as few items as they desire. They also offer countless Vegan and Veggie options. The kitchen is open until 2 a.m. Barrio is open Monday through Thursday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. (with Happy Hour in the bar area from 4 to 7 p.m.), Friday hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (with Happy Hour in the bar area from 4 to 7 p.m.), Saturday and Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Regular meals are always available.

Loco Leprechaun
24545 Center Ridge Road
Westlake, OH 44145
(216) 250-5626

It’s an Irish Pub. It’s a Mexican Cantina. It’s a Sports Bar. It’s where you can get served an Irish/Mexican Car Bomb (Tequila mixed with Bailey’s Irish Cream and dropped into a glass of Guinness Stout). The menu reflects a wide range of influences as well that includes Handmade Potato and Cheese Perogies (served during Lent and on Cinco de Mayo), Chicken Paprikash, Cajun Chicken Pasta, Chili Mac and Cheese, Reuben Nachos, Quesadillas, Wraps or Rice Bowls as well as Chicken and Waffles. It’s also a great place to catch the Cavs, Indians, Browns and THE OHIO STATE games on the eleven large screen TVs as well as the 120” Video Projection Screen. The place is the ten and a half year old brainstorm of owners Mike Ollick (half Irish) and Rose Wolfgram (German). The bar is more full service than most carrying a variety of traditional booze found in most cultures and is probably the only place in Cleveland that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo with equal vigor. Check out their Friday Lake Perch Fish Fry that is offered all year long. Sláinte mhaith, amigo!

Related: Best Ravioli In Cleveland

Los Gallos
630 Broadway Ave.
Bedford, OH 44146
(440) 232-1322

Step in from the street and the decor and murals will transport you to a cantina south of the border. The food as expected is on the spicy side as they specialize in authentic Mexican meals using the freshest ingredients available. The bar offers up 40 taps and a slew of Margaritas in all varieties of flavors. The place features an eclectic mix of live music from Hillbilly Rock, Mariachi, Blues, Rock and even Disco.

Ohio City
1835 Fulton Road
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 694-2122

Over 52 different tequilas and mescal, 11 south of the border beers and a nice collection of margaritas as well as a scrumptious menu of 39 “Mod-Mex” offerings along with desserts. If you’re looking for a hip place to bring friends, this is the place to try. Open Tuesday through Saturday 5 to close, Sunday 4 to 9:30 p.m. and closed Mondays and Holidays.

Related: Best Places To Picnic In Cleveland

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