Every other day or so someone wanders in looking for pizza, and no wonder, since the campus landmark with the checkered tablecloths and the distinctly Minnesotan pie stood in the same space for over half a century. Co-owner of upcoming Luchador Angelo Pennacchio jokes that if they can wrangle even a fraction of the pizzeria's customer base, Luchador should have no problem staying in business.
He and two other partners, Josh Zavadil and Regan Hassele, have had a dream of putting tacos on campus for a long time. Zavadil owns another campus warhorse, Stub & Herbs, and Pennacchio and Hassele have been longtime bartenders at the college haunt. When Campus Pizza vacated they knew the time was nigh. "We just really want to round out the neighborhood by giving it another great bar with some really good Mexican food."
Consulting chef is Josh Atwood, formerly of Bar La Grassa, and he's put together an inventive menu of mostly small plates including elote, avocado toast, chilaquiles, and a full list of tacos that each take on a bit of individual charm: steak with grilled avocado relish, chorizo with crispy potatoes and a soft egg, red braised pork with roasted corn and honey.
And with their bar background, rest assured that the trio will not let the bar program slip into drinker's doldrums. They're planning an iced margarita in a slushy machine, housemade horchata with rum, and a Mexican Fireball.
"We want it to be fun and cool, but not pretentious," said Pennacchio.
The bar will take its namesake from the two enormous luchador murals (pictured) that will grace the space.
"They're really cool, I think! They're larger than life."
Luchador is aiming for an early August opening.
825 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis