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Covington’s Zapata Cantina holds grand opening in downtown at 8th and Madison, offers ‘authentic fare’

Covington’s Zapata Cantina has opened in Covington.

The cantina, named after the early 20th century Mexican revolutionary and folk hero, will focus on Mexican street food with a modern interpretation of traditional dishes. Everything is made in-house, including Zapata’s own two-toned tortillas. A wide selection of mezcal and tequila will headline the beverage offerings, along with some new takes on the Kentucky favorite, Bourbon.

Decorated with colorful Mexican tiles throughout, the interior features exposed brick, steel beams, and rustic wood accents. A “tequila bunker” greets guests at the front door where regulars will have the opportunity to store their favorite tequila and mezcal.

The project began in July, 2017, with Madison Ventures’ acquisition of the vacant structure
known as the “old Frisch’s building” at the corner of Eighth Street and Madison Avenue.

Previously considered an eyesore in the community, 801 Madison Avenue has undergone a
complete renovation from the ground up. “The place had so much potential, but it had been
vacant and deteriorating for decades. We feel that this building is a meaningful component to the
continued development of the Covington CBD, and seeing it come back to life has been a terrific
experience”, says Eric Steiden of Madison Ventures.

“Covington’s growth has exploded over the past few years, and we want to be part of the
incredible revitalization of the city. The Eighth and Madison corner anchors the development
that is spreading toward the south end of the central business district”, says Alex Rodriguez, co-owner
and general manager of Zapata Cantina.

The work in progress. All finished now.

Rodriguez believes that Zapata Cantina will stand out among Greater Cincinnati’s Mexican
cuisine offerings.

“What sets us apart is our devotion to producing authentic fare with only the
best ingredients available. We are passionate to share our rich culture in this evolving and
growing community,” he says.

Rodriguez’s father, Gary, is a restaurant veteran and co-owner of Zapata Cantina. Having
immigrated to the United States in 1974, Gary Rodriguez has been in the business for more than
40 years. In 2019, he was named the Ohio Restaurant Association’s Restaurateur of the year for
the southern region of Ohio.

Future plans include expansion of the Eighth Street sidewalk to accommodate outdoor dining.
Zapata Cantina is located at 801 Madison Avenue, in Covington.

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