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No Tex-Mex here: Gainesville restaurant boasts ‘real flavor of Mexico’
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Jorge Arellano prepares several cuts of meat at El Antojito Restaurant & Taqueria on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. The restaurant opened recently on Thompson Bridge in Gainesville. - photo by Austin Steele

Beef tacos with hard shells can’t be found at El Antojito Restaurant & Taqueria Authentic Mexican Food on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville.

“We’re going to keep an authentic Mexican flavor,” Carlos Onate, the restaurant’s manager said. “I don’t want to say that other restaurants don’t have these dishes, they probably have some, but we’re just going to let customers know the real flavor of Mexico.”

Keeping a menu truly authentic hasn’t been a walk in the park for the business.

Onate said people have walked out because he doesn’t serve Tex-Mex options.

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El Antojito Restaurant & Taqueria opened recently on Thompson Bridge in Gainesville. This restaurant began as a taco stand in Oakwood and has expanded with a Gainesville location. - photo by Austin Steele

“We want to keep using the words, ‘authentic Mexican cuisine,’” he said. “That’s the main point. We’re not going to have shredded chicken or ground beef.”

The restaurant opened on April 5 as a result of the popularity of its other location at 3602 Southlane Drive in Oakwood. Unlike Taqueria El Antojito in Oakwood, which opened in 2017, the Gainesville business serves more than tacos.

“I’m excited that we’re offering new dishes,” German Perez, co-owner of the restaurant said. “We’re mostly known for our tacos, but now we’re bringing some new Mexican cuisine.”

Perez said the restaurant didn’t begin in Oakwood, but as La Villita on Atlanta Highway in Gainesville. The business lasted for more than 10 years before moving to Oakwood and changing its name to Taqueria El Antojito.

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Tacos are served at El Antojito Restaurant & Taqueria on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. The restaurant opened recently on Thompson Bridge in Gainesville. - photo by Austin Steele

People can find various dishes with seafood, chorizo, shrimp, beef tongue, steak and other meat at the Gainesville location. Every weekend the restaurant serves soup, which Onate claims, “everybody who is Mexican or Hispanic knows.”

Some of the soups include beef tripe, chicken, shrimp and other seafood.

One dish that has been a hit with customers is the El Antojito. This includes a fish fillet, marinated shrimp and vegetables. The cooks pair the dish with a salad, and rice and beans.

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Patrons eat a variety of traditional Mexican cuisine at El Antojito Restaurant & Taqueria on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. The restaurant opened recently on Thompson Bridge in Gainesville. - photo by Austin Steele

Perez, who co-owns the restaurant with his cousin Andres Gonzales, said all of the items on the menu are family recipes.

During the past couple of weeks Onate has asked customers for constructive criticism regarding the menu. Within the next month or so, he intends to print a new menu with additional dishes and upgraded items.

“If you really want to try something authentic, you should come here,” Onate said.

El Antojito Restaurant & Taqueria Authentic Mexican Food is on 1856 Thompson Bridge Road in the shopping center next to Tap It Gainesville Growlers. For more information about the new business call 678-943-2393.

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