Cinco de Mayo brings out big crowds

May 6—Margaritas were the best selling alcoholic beverage at Compadres Mexican Restaurant on Cinco de Mayo.

But that wasn't a surprise to Beto Luna, who along with his wife Mari Ortiz co-own and manage the Greenville restaurant.

"That's the best selling beverage every day," Luna said on Sunday while hustling to serve the large crowd.

Celebrated on May 5, the date commemorates the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The day has been embraced in America with people flocking to Mexican restaurants.

Tulio Estrada, a native of Columbia, also was enjoying the day at Compadres.

"I'm lucky," Estrada said. "Today is my birthday so I'm celebrating all weekend."

Nachos, burritos, tacos and fajitas were among the top menu items ordered at local Mexican restaurants such as at El Vallarta in Hermitage.

"People want to hang out with their families here and enjoy our specials today," Jenny Calvillo, who along with her husband Mario co-own and manage the restaurant said.

Like other local Mexican restaurants visited Sunday, this is El Vallarta's single biggest day is sales.

"We began preparing for this days ago," Calvillo said.

This also was a day for other cultures to participate. Aldo DiRupo, whose Italian family owns Aldo's Pizza & Pasta in Sharon, was the host disc jokey at La Isla, just a few blocks up from his restaurant on East State Street in Hermitage. The Mexican restaurant is owned by Mindy Hernandez and her husband Lazaro.

"These are good friends of mine," DiRupo said. "I'm starting the day out with multi-cultural songs but as the day goes on I'll be playing more Mexican music."

By 1 p.m. La Isla was getting slammed with a crowd.

"We bring in extra bartenders for Cinco de Mayo," Mindy said.

Tara Donahue of Hubbard and her friends were downing cold beers at La Isla's bar.

"We're regulars here," Donahue said.

But she planned well for the celebration.

"I have a designated driver with me," Donahue said.