Ernesto's to offer Anaconda challenge

Ernesto Martinez inside his new Ernesto’s Mexican Bar & Grill on Tuesday in Wesleyan Park Plaza.

The Anaconda is coming.

When Ernesto Martinez opens his new Ernesto’s Mexican Bar & Grill in Wesleyan Park Plaza — hopefully on Monday — diners will be able to challenge the Anaconda.

It’s a 5-pound burrito, Martinez said, that sells for about $20.

If a person can eat it — alone — at one setting, he or she will get a T-shirt and a picture on the Wall of Fame.

Martinez is hoping — and praying — that he gets his liquor license by Monday, so he can open the 90-seat restaurant.

“Mexican restaurants without alcohol don’t work,” he said Tuesday. “People want their margaritas.”

Martinez came to Owensboro 25 years ago to work at the old La Fiesta restaurant.

Since then, he’s worked with his brother, Oscar, at Cinco de Mayo and Los Amigos.

And he’s operated El Mezcal, 2100 W. Second St.

That location wasn’t good, Martinez said, but he still developed a good following there.

His new location in the former PizzAroma restaurant is perfect, he said.

It’s in the middle of Owensboro and the shopping center is starting to attract new tenants, Martinez said.

“And there’s great parking,” he said.

The menu will include Tex-Mex, authentic Mexican and American dishes.

Martinez said there are 14 Mexican restaurants in Owensboro now.

He said his recipes — and the Anaconda — set Ernesto’s apart.

Martinez said he’s moved around to other states through the years.

But he’s back in Owensboro to stay, he said.

“I’ve been blessed,” Martinez said. “People here have supported me.”

The restaurant will employ about a dozen people, he said.

Martinez plans cornhole, basketball and music on the patio, which seats about 50, during the summer months.

Hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“I want to make happy people,” Martinez said.

He said people can check Facebook on Monday to make sure he has his liquor license.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301,

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