Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Friday, April 17, 2009

A New Direction: Nouveau Mexican restaurant expands on traditional roots by Steve Schmidt

He had an idea of what the place would look, but John Montes had to receive his family’s permission before Mojitos Mexican Grill become one of Fayetteville’s newest eateries. He got the green light in November from his older brother, Meliton, who is in charge of running the family business, which is composed of the area La Huerta and Mexico Viejo restaurants.

“He’s always been behind me and supported me through the whole thing,” Montes said of his brother.

Before starting his own enterprise, Montes has helped oversee the operations at the La Huerta location on College Avenue in Fayetteville for years.

“I asked my family if I could branch off and try to do my own thing because I didn’t want to do your typical Mexican restaurant.”

Well before the establishment open on March 6, the owner had exact specifications for the lighting system that illuminates the walls. Serveral of those walls are different shades of blue – his favorite color.

When it come to food. Montes said he wanted to expand on traditional offering, “because if you go to a place and you take a big party of people, not everybody’s going to only want Mexican.”