Don Mario's coming to former Bee Bops

Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer | Oralis Radilla Zunun will open Don Mario's Mexican Restaurant in the former Bee Bop's location at 122A W. Second St. in January.

People keep telling Oralis Radilla Zunun that her El Mezcal Mexican Restaurant, 2100 W. Second St., is "the best kept little secret in Owensboro."

Well, she's tired of being a secret.

In January, Zunun, who's been in the restaurant business for three years, plans to open Don Mario's Mexican Restaurant in the former Bee Bops location at 122A W. Second St. in the heart of downtown.

The current restaurant will close when she moves, Zunun said.

"We want to be part of the new downtown culture and its family-friendly atmosphere," Zunun said.

She said she's known for her authentic Mexican street tacos, which were a hit at the Taste of Owensboro back in September.

"We'll have all the Mexican food favorites that people like," Zunun said. "But our tacos are what people talk about."

She'll be trying different things with her alcoholic beverages as well as adding different teas and a Mexican rice milk drink.

"Once people try it, they keep coming back for it," Zunun said.

The new location will be a little bit smaller than the current one.

But its position downtown makes it more desirable, Zunun said.

"We want to be closer to the people," she said.

Don Mario's -- the original name of El Mezcal -- is named for her father.

"He'll be there a lot," Zunun said. "We want people to come in and try us out."

Downtown hasn't had a Mexican restaurant for nearly five years since El Toribio was razed to make way for the Enclave at Riverfront Living at Frederica Street and Veterans Boulevard.

Bee Bops was among the first restaurants to open downtown in 2010 after the riverfront renovations began.

It closed about a year ago.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301,

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