Cinco in the City: the definitive guide to Cinco de Mayo in New York

“¿Qué vas a hacer este fin de semana?” It’s a question millions of high school Spanish students across the country are asking each other right now in anticipation of the weekend. And it’s a question any of us would do well ask ourselves, because this weekend and its ensuing Monday comprise CINCO DE MAYO WEEKEND.

Cinco de Mayo is sometimes derided as a poor excuse to get especially borracho-ed that adds little to our understanding or appreciation of Mexican culture. Ok, yes, fair enough. But, like abortions, Cinco is going to happen anyway, so we are taking the time to direct you to the most authentic establishments in New York City to perform Cinco de Mayo. Vamos:

1. Traditional Tex Mex debauchery: Tortilla Flats

NYC’s “preeminent Tex Mex funhouse,” Tortilla Flats “puts the fun in funky.” And this weekend, they’ll be putting the “sin” in “CINco de Mayo.” Which pun doesn’t work quite as well as their’s, but Tortilla Flats is a classic choice to celebrate the holiday, and, as far as I know, no one has ever left Tortilla Flats not having had a fun/funky time.

Tortilla Flats Cinco de Mayo

2. Uptown Taco Adventure: Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana + The Village Pourhouse

Taqueria y Fonda is an uptown treasure; their fare airs on the avant garde, with salmon-cactus burritos and chicken pipian with pumpkin seed sauce among the daily specials. The spirited atmosphere owes much to the rabidly loyal students who eat at Taqueria, and is an especially excellent place to start the night because, if you are a halfway decent customer, your meal generally comes with a free tequila shot.

Cinco de burrito

From TFM, walk two blocks to the Village Pourhouse, which might just have the best Cinco deal in town: for $7, receive a margarita or Corona, plus a fake mustache, PLUS a sombrero. And with all that authentic Taqueria food sitting pretty in your belly, you needn’t even feel weird about this.

3. Sports!: Campeón

Here is an infographic that explains what to expect at Campeón:

Cinco de Venn Diagram

Campeón is perhaps the only restaurant/bar establishment at the intersection of sports bars and Mexican food in New York. It also has an entire section on the menu dedicated to “super tortas,” which can be better visualized in this Venn diagram:

Super tortas venn diagram

4. Yelp Schmelp: Lobo

When the Mexican army gloriously and improbably defeated French army on May 5, 1862, did the soldiers then bust out their Yelp apps to find the highest rated place to celebrate? Hell no. They went to the nearest taqueria and stuffed their battle weary faces. In this spirit, head Cobble Hill-ward to Lobo, a joint Yelp describes as “Meh”. Yet all the essential Cinco ingredients you will find there (margaritas, tacos), plus a few extras like churros and a party patio.

Lobo de Mayo

5. Mac deMayo: Duke’s

Although not expressly a Mexican restaurant, Duke’s makes the list because of a happy coincidence this year: Cinco de Mayo falls on Duke’s half off mac & cheese Monday. Here a difficult choice has to be made between supporting local Mexican establishments or eating macaroni and cheese. First world problems don’t get much harder.

Cinco de Mac

Happy Cinco de Mayo from all of us at Peatix! May your tequila be strong and your enchiladas well-seasoned.