Posted by cmh gourmand on January 5, 2009
I have taken on a new mission. Each year I will adopt a restaurant. Other people might adopt a child, an animal from a shelter (been there, done that), or support a village somewhere. Adopting usually involves a background check. That might not be a good idea… “So sir, about your eating habits.”
My project for this year is:
Aztecas Mexican Restaurant and Bar
5225 North High Street
614 431 1200
Open Monday to Sunday
Happy Hour: Monday to Friday 3 PM to 6 PM
The adoption is not altruistic. My motives are absolutely self-serving. I can walk to Aztecas, that’s good for my health. The Margaritas are top notch with middle shelf ingredients. The food is well above average, it tastes a bit fresher than the norm for the Mexican genre. I have eaten several excellent entrees including carnitas, rellenos, and the chimichangas. A baseline for a Mexican restaurant is a bowl of chips and salsa, Aztecas delivers in this category. The chips are crisp, crunchy, and neverending. The standard salsa is fresh. If you ask your server, they may drop off some other hot salsas the cooks are testing out. Aztecas has a lot of potential so I would like to see them stay in business long enough to realize that potential.
The primary reason for my choice is my desire to grow restaurants in Clintonville. Baja Clintonville (South) is now anchored by Sage American Bistro. However NOBville (North of Beechwold) has not taken off. The area has Villa Nova and the most excellent Pig Iron, but more is needed to make the area a mealtime mecca. The first missing link in the restaurant renaissance will be a vibrant and successful Aztecas. That is my goal.
This is how I will make it happen. I have committed to eating here twice a month (I have three trips in for January so far). I have asked all of my friends and neighbors to give the place a shot. No one has been disappointed to date.
The location itself is not ideal, but back in the day it was a hoppin hangout, when it was the original Franco’s Pizza. The space was successful until the early 90’s. Then it was a wonderful Middle Eastern Restaurant that lasted 6 months, followed by a dismal Mexican eatery that strung along for a year. Aztecas is about 6 months into their run and I want them to make it in a tough economy. If you need more incentive, there are coupons floating around Columbus in all of the usual modes of delivery.
If you can’t adopt Aztecas, then pick another new restaurant for your own and run with it.
Much like a Seinfeld episode, Aztecas did not make it. The quality declined over the course of 2009 and it closed in August. It is now a place called Porter’s Pub. I hope this establishment has better success and sustainability.