Skip to Main Content

Cantina Mexicana

Partner Spotlight

Photo: Ernesto OropezaCantina Mexicana has been a mainstay in Crystal City  since 1995 when now owner Gloria Arias decided to take it over. Previously it was named Taco House where she worked in the 1980s for several years. By 1987, current Director of Operations Ernesto Oropeza had been a frequent customer and in 2004 he began working part time. He now handles everything from quality control and logistical operations to inventory and landlord duties. Ernesto was a good fit since he’s from Corpus Christi, Texas and brings a strong knowledge of Tex-Mex to the table (no pun intended).

He also says living in Texas requires you to have a car to get around since municipalities and locations are so far apart. Also, public transit doesn’t come as frequently as in urban areas like Arlington. One of the things he likes most about Arlington County is that the frequency of buses makes it convenient to ride. Add to that Metro, Capital Bikeshare, Car2Go and more – it’s easy to live a car-free lifestyle. In fact, most of the staff uses public transit to get to work. He says patrons used to complain about parking, but these days that’s not the case. Perhaps it’s because Cantina Mexicana is an active Car-Free Diet Partner that promotes transit options with a brochure display in the window. Ernesto says the transportation brochures get refilled often since folks take bike and bus maps as they enter and leave the restaurant.

In 2012, Cantina Mexicana opened a second location in the Columbia Pike neighborhood. Oropeza is quick to mention Columbia Pike is much slower and residential, making for a different dynamic. When asked about traffic, he says there is less traffic along the Pike and he’s pleased with how growth is happening in the area. Due to more residents, he also notices a strong loyalty of regular customers who come in to eat repeatedly. As he mentions this, a shout bursts from a nearby table as a local customer walks in and is recognized by his friends.

The flank steak fajitas are great, but make sure to try the empanadas de yuca. You may find yourself staying for their signature giant-sized margaritas.  Learn how to get there car free.

Cantina Mexicana
922 S. Walter Reed Dr.
Arlington, VA 22204

Related Content

Upcoming Events

 

Arlington’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Counters

Bikes counted

View Counter Data
110 Trail
945
14th Street Bridge
0
Arlington Mill Trail
0
Ballston Connector
0
Bluemont Connector
0
CC Connector
777
Clarendon EB bike lane
195
Custis Bon Air Park
806
Custis Rosslyn
0
Fairfax EB bike lane
128
Joyce St NB
0
Joyce St SB
23
Key Bridge East
908
Key Bridge West
163
Military NB bike lane
41
Military SB bike lane
0
MVT Airport South
0
Quincy NB bike lane
84
Quincy SB bike lane
90
Roosevelt Bridge
305
Rosslyn Bikeometer
0
TR Island Bridge
1021
WOD Bon Air Park
689
WOD Bon Air West
1117
WOD Columbia Pike
821
WOD East Falls Church
871
Wilson WB bike lane
272

Peds counted

View Counter Data
110 Trail
474
14th Street Bridge
0
Arlington Mill Trail
727
Ballston Connector
0
Bluemont Connector
0
CC Connector
535
Custis Bon Air Park
0
Custis Rosslyn
2113
Joyce St NB
0
Joyce St SB
107
Key Bridge East
1782
Key Bridge West
916
MVT Airport South
0
Roosevelt Bridge
0
TR Island Bridge
606
WOD Bon Air Park
669
WOD Bon Air West
585
WOD Columbia Pike
29789
WOD East Falls Church
702

All counters, YTD

View Counter Data
Year to Date
2571232