Jose Patino and his family have been running Aqui es Mexico for five years now.
James "Jinx" Kern, owner of Jinx’s Pit’s-Top Barbecue, gets a visit from a fan-Talking Head David Byrne
At first sight, Market Street and Meade Avenue would seem an unlikely location for a growing restaurant district, flanked as they are by a cemetery headstone shop, a auto junkyard, and an industrial park. But The Lunchbox Express and Market & Meade at the corner of, well, Market and Meade, this week joins a bevy of eateries in the vicinity that foodies have been flocking to.
Of course, Jinx's Pit's Top Barbecue laid the ground work, but Aqui es Mexico (which has expanded recently), Korea House, Belmont Pizza and Pub, the C'ville Market, and Beer Run have made the unlikely location a foodie destination.
In fact, back in 2008 Beer Run was selected as one of the 100 best places to drink beer in America by Imbibe Magazine, the Portland-based glossy dedicated to covering the world of drink. Aqui es Mexico, run by José Patino and his family, has gained a reputation for serving some of the most delicious, authentic, creative Mexican food in town. The place is very kid friendly, José and his family treat you like you've come to their house for dinner, and the prices are very reasonable. One of Dish's favorites.
The Lunchbox, formerly a mobile food cart maned by Charlottesville natives Daniel Heilberg and Joseph Young, is poised to capitalize on this trend by going bricks and mortar (though they still plan to be mobile). According to Heilberg, the basic menu will be pretty much the same as the mobile one– kabobs, Philly cheesesteak, veggie burgers, fries, wings, hot dogs, chicken tenders– but they've also got a few surprises.
For instance, they also have a full convenience store with a selection of local produce and a New York Style deli up front. There's indoor seating for about 25, and they've built a patio out back with another 20 to 30 seats. They've also set up a bunch of big, beautiful TVs from Crutchfield for watching sports and stuff. And get this: beginning next year, not only will they deliver late night, they will actually be open to 3am Thursday through Saturday!
What's more, Heilberg clued us in to another development. Across the street, Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar creator Matteus Frankovich is apparently opening up a vintage motorcycle-themed restaurant called Vintage Brews. Dish could not confirm this with Frankovich by press time, so it's officially a rumor. But don't worry, Dish will get to the bottom of it!