Word of Mouth

Diego's Mexican Food and Cantina plans to spice up the 16th Street Mall

A longtime Pueblo restaurateur is packing his bags and relocating to Denver to open a new Mexican bar and restaurant early next month.

Diego's Mexican Food and Cantina, which will occupy a space on the basement level of the Champa Square building at 1600 Champa Street, will feature familiar Mexican staples like tamales, carnitas, chile rellenos and fajitas, according to general manager and co-owner Anthony Terrones.

Anthony and his father, Walter Terrones, who will run the kitchen, own two Mexican restaurants in Pueblo -- Mi Ranchito and Mi Ranchito II, both of which will continue to operate, with one leased out and the other carrying on under the guidance of Anthony's mother. "We just wanted to expand and go to a different location to get our product out," Terrones says, adding that he hopes to bottle and sell his father's salsas and green chili sauce eventually.

The new restaurant's menu mimics its Pueblo predecessors, but will be supplemented with some more unusual entrees, with dinner dishes running from $10 to $19. Some recipes are from Anthony's grandmother; others, like the green chili, are a Pueblo tradition. The house specialties will be the salsas, green chili sauce and margaritas, all of which have won awards, Anthony says.

The 350-seat restaurant will have what Anthony describes as a tropical vibe, with mariachis strolling about now and then. "When you go to Mexico and you go to shack on the beach, with music playing, you kind of transform," he explains. "We want people to feel as though they're in a different environment, like a resort-type place."

The elder Terrones has been in the restaurant business for over forty years. The family co-owns the Denver Diego's with building neighbors Michael and Bill Colohan.

The restaurant, named after Anthony Terrones' 11-year-old son, will initially open for lunch and dinner and eventually expand to breakfast.