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Fairport-E.Rochester Post
  • Monte Alban Mexican Grill opens new location in Penfield

  • Rochester's Monte Alban Mexican Grill has opened a new location on the east side. The restaurant, which already has locations in Irondequoit and Webster, opened for business at the corner of Routes 250 and 441, in Penfield at the former location of Duchess Restaurant, which closed in 2011.

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  • Rochester's Monte Alban Mexican Grill has opened a new location on the east side. The restaurant, which already has locations in Irondequoit and Webster, opened for business at the corner of Routes 250 and 441, in Penfield at the former location of Duchess Restaurant, which closed in 2011.
    The new Monte Alban opened its doors on Aug. 27. The restaurant is co-owned by Manuel Solorio and his business partner Francisco Eoyoque. Solorio’s family owns and operates the other locations, and their hospitable style of service has endeared the chain to its most loyal customers.
    When the opportunity to add a third restaurant arose, Solorio saw it as an opportunity to become part of a new neighborhood. He said that as a business, they take pride in employing all local servers and cooks.
    “We’re really small but we’re part of the community somehow,” Solorio said. “We love serving people.”
    Their brightly colored restaurant interior includes a full bar, and enough indoor and outdoor seating to accommodate 169 guests.
    Both Solorio and Eoyoque say that owning their own restaurant is a dream come true. They were raised by parents who worked on farms in Mexico. When Solorio was 17, he came to the United States to find work and a chance for a better life.
    Eoyoque was born in Illinois and moved to Mexico for 10 years before they went to California when he was 12.
    The young men became friends as teenagers when both were living and working in Georgia. They came to Rochester when a family friend living in Buffalo said there was a need for more Mexican restaurants in the region.
    So the Solorio family, along with friends, opened their first restaurant on Ridge Road in Irondequoit in 2006. Two years later they opened a second on Empire Boulevard, in Webster.
    Their menu is rich in traditional food from the Central Southern region of Mexico. Some of the most popular items include the “Pancho Special” with chicken, shrimp, onions, lettuce and cheese with flour tortillas, rice and beans on the side.
    The enchiladas Mexicanas have three chicken enchiladas covered in red “mole” sauce, green sauce and melted cheese.
    Mole sauce is made from red peppers and dash of dark chocolate. The owners say the sauce was reserved for family gatherings and celebrations when they were growing up. Solorio said that’s his favorite thing on the menu.
    “Now I have the chance to eat it whenever I want,” he said, smiling.
    Historically, there is a wide range of Mexican cooking styles based on geography, as ethnic groups brought their own recipes when settling near Mexico City. The differences can likewise be seen in what’s served at restaurants in the U.S.
    “Mexican food is always a little bit different,” said Solorio. “It’s very good for the area for people to have different options.”
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