Walking by this joint in Old City you might be drawn in by the delicious aroma of grilled street corn, the melody of salsa music, or simply the colorful lights adorning the outside patio. Little do you know this might be one of the most underrated Mexican restaurants in the city with the second largest tequila selection.
“Lucha libre” is a form of professional wrestling characterized by colorful masks rapid sequences of holds and maneuvers, as well as “high-flying” maneuvers. Lucha Cartel plays homage to these Mexican wrestlers, and has wrestling masks as decor. Don’t be too scared when you walk down to the bathroom and are confronted by a mannequin in a mask ready to put you in a choke hold. We’re not kidding.
This year at Lucha Cartel, Cinco de Mayo will consist of a whole week of specials and activities including $5 food and drink specials on Thursday, late night happy hour and drink specials with no cover Friday and Saturday, and a Sunday party with drink specials all night!
Drinks all week will be made with Olmeca Altos 100% agave tequila which is aged 5 years and imported from Mexico! Try a classic margarita or pretend you’re on a tropical getaway by grabbing a Teek Mai-Tai served in a pineapple! This pineapple has got a little kick with Lucha’s own spicy Bacardi 151 infusion made with habanero and ghost chili peppers- we absolutely loved it!
The food here is top notch and it’s no surprise with Chris Jennings managing the front of the house. He has been working with tequila restaurants since 2009 and at Lucha for over a year. He grew up in San Antonio, Texas with a passion for tequila in his blood from his mother who came from Mexico.
For appetizers, we’d recommend the fresh made Guacamole (you can also add cojita cheese, roasted corn, and bacon), the Queso Fundido (seriously, you can never have enough cheese), or the Empanadas (choose from mushroom, chicken, or shrimp).
For some larger starters we highly recommend the Quesadillas. Not only is there cheese baked on the inside, but it’s on the outside as well, making this perfect for any cheese lover. Add a dollop of guacamole and sour cream, and every single bite is a dream come true.
Stop by for Happy Hour Monday-Friday 4-7 pm for $5 Papas Bravas, Empanadas, Papas Locas, Ceviche, Tacos, Guacamole, Chorizo Sliders, Quesadillas, Queso Fundido, Chicharones, and Frijoles Refritos. Wash it all down with half price draft beers and $5 margaritas and sangria!
For lunchtime we’d suggest The Lucha Salad- with grilled chicken, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, and black beans, with a chipotle ranch dressing. It’s super fresh, and one of Arielle’s favorite go-to salads in the city. The Lucha Salad is gluten-free and the Avocado Salad is gluten-free and vegan too! We definitely liked the Chipotle Chicken Sandwich and hope to come back and try the Chorizo Burger with mixed chorizo and beef patty with grilled onion, salsa verde mayo, and oaxaca cheese. Stop by for lunch if you love burritos too- they aren’t served for dinner!
For dinner, try the Arrachera – it’s phenomenal adobo-marinated sirloin steak with guacamole, grilled cactus, panela cheese, and onion, served with rice. Or how about Enchiladas? You can either get three chicken or three vegetarian, served with a side of white rice. All Enchiladas are gluten-free. Looking to spice it up? Be sure to ask for a trio of their hot sauces.
The Al-Pastor Style Pork Belly Tacos slow cooked in a marinade with pineapple sauce, onion, and cilantro on a corn tortilla blew us away. You MUST order these tacos even if you’ve never tried pork belly, we swear you’ll be wowed.
If you aren’t able to celebrate Cinco De Mayo this week don’t despair! Lucha Cartel has Salsa dancing every Tuesday with no cover, lessons starting at 9 pm, and $5 margaritas to help build up your courage. Late night happy hour is also offered every Friday and Saturday with DJs spinning tunes from 10pm to close. And if you’re more of an early riser than a night owl check out Lucha Cartel for brunch with Huevos Rancheros or Brunch Burrito.
We hope to see you this Cinco De Mayo at Lucha Cartel!
-Arielle and Lea
We would like to thank Chris Jennings for meeting with us to talk about Lucha Cartel and sample some great Mexican food.