News - McHenry County

New Crystal Lake restaurant offers classic Mexican cuisine

Manager Victor Rodriguez (left) and owner Luis Rodriguez posed for a photo during the lunch rush Friday at Antigua Mexican Grill, 1500 Carlemont Drive, Crystal Lake.

Crystal Lake is home to a new restaurant specializing in traditional Mexican cuisine.

Antigua Mexican Grill, 1500 Carlemont Drive, Unit J, opened in early November.

Owner Luis Rodriguez said he was inspired by the flavors of his hometown of Zacatecas, Mexico. The 32-year-old installed a large mural on a wall to make patrons feel as if they were transported to Mexico’s historic bull fighting ring, Plaza de Toros. Antigua translated in English means ancient.

“We like food,” said Victor Rodriguez, Luis Rodriguez’ cousin and the restaurant’s manager. “We got some old recipes from parents and thought ‘Why not?’ It’s a nice atmosphere. ... We don’t consider ourselves super fancy, but we’re a step up from your normal taqueria. Our prices are in between. We feel like this accommodates everyone.”

Antigua Mexican Grill specializes in ceviche, moles and fajitas. Victor Rodriguez said they make homemade margarita mix and guacamole each day.

“It’s all from scratch,” Victor Rodriguez said. “Our skirt steaks are really good, and our fajitas are like wow! They come sizzling, and everybody’s impressed by them.”

Victor Rodriguez said they haven’t advertised but are already getting positive feedback.

“It’s been crazy, we’ve been steady and then on the weekends we’re slammed,” he said.