Owners of Loco Margarita Bar & Grill say business has been buzzing since the eatery became the newest Collegetown bar on April 1.
Kevin Sullivan, one of the bar’s partners, said that he saw a demand for another bar and that the restaurant filled a need in Ithaca for Mexican food.
“There’s room in the market for a good Mexican restaurant,” he said. “We’ve gotten high-fives from Californians on their way out [of Loco].”
Sullivan said the new restaurant, located at 308 Stewart Avenue, features Mexican fare as well as margaritas, tequilas and other alcoholic drinks. Sullivan said the bar would be popular with a diverse crowd of Cornellians despite its location on Stewart Avenue, which he admitted was less frequented by undergraduates.
“Naturally, in this neighborhood we’re getting a lot of graduate students,” he said.
While the bar is an important aspect of the business, Sullivan emphasized the importance of food to Loco.
“We put a lot of effort into the food. We use authentic Mexican recipes,” he said.
Sullivan added the business has done well in its first few weeks, even though the owners have not advertised in any local media.
“We’ve gotten a good response,” Sullivan said.
Andrew Kerr, bar manager, also emphasized the more upscale nature of Loco. The bar includes wood paneling, LED lighting and modern bar stools.
“We’re trying to bring in a classier place to Collegetown,” he said.
Sullivan, who is from the Ithaca area, is also a part owner of The Connection, a restaurant located adjacent to Loco, and Jack’s Grill, which is located on Dryden Road.
“I’ve been in Collegetown a long time,” he said.
Emma Schnur ’13 said she does not think the bar will draw a significant number of undergraduates, who tend to live higher up in Collegetown, since these students already have bars closer to their doors.
“It would be more frequented by people on West [Campus],” she said.
Daniel Katz ’12 agreed that Loco would have difficulty attracting undergraduate students.
“The only difficult part about that is their location sucks,” he said.
Sean Donegan ’12 said he was potentially interested in Loco, but also added he was hesitant because of its location.
“It depends on what they offer — say, what’s their special on a Wednesday night,” he said.
Kerr said that Loco will have different themes every night of the week, such as “Ladies Nights” on Thursdays. The bar will also have deejays playing on weekends as well as live music in the back room.
Donegan, Katz and Schnur all agreed that there was significant demand for another bar in Collegetown.
However, Sullivan said the quality of Loco’s Mexican food, margaritas and other drinks would bring in a lot of business despite its location.
“We’ve got killer Mexican food,” he said.
Sullivan said Loco will also feature brunch on Sundays, and Collegetown lacked many brunch options. As a result, he thinks many people will be interested in coming to Loco for authentic Mexican and American Southwest food.
“The frittata for brunch is phenomenal,” he said.
Sullivan said that Collegetown is a fun and lively environment to operate a bar that is distinct from any other university in the nation.
“Cornell students are a unique breed,” he said.