With deep roots in family-owned Mexican restaurants, Enrique Lopez and Napoleon Onate have opened the Lazy Donkey in downtown Macon on a limited basis.
The new restaurant is located at 379 Third St. in the spot that once housed the Acapulco, also a Mexican restaurant.
Initial operating hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Equipped with a full bar, the restaurant is expected to fully open once it receives its alcohol license — possibly before the annual Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off March 18.
The restaurateurs are also partners in two other Mexican restaurants in Middle Georgia: El Sombrero Mexican Restaurant at 610 North Ave. in Macon and El Sombrero Mexican Restaurant at 208 Old Clinton Road in Gray.
Lopez has been working in Mexican restaurants for about 47 years, mostly in Atlanta and Tennessee before initially partnering with Onate’s father, the late Jesus Onate Aguirre. Their first partnership, El Sombrero on North Avenue, has been in operation for about 20 years.
“I do everything,” said Lopez, whose customers have likely seen him out front managing the restaurants. “Whatever I have to do. I cook, wash dishes, clean floors.”
Napoleon Onate’s father had owned and operated Monterrey Mexican Restaurant in Cobb County for more than 40 years.
“I grew up in this,” Napoleon Onate said. “When we were kids, we were in the back of the restaurant playing games, playing soccer.”
The downtown location was key to opening the new restaurant, he said.
“I feel like Macon has been growing and downtown Macon is picking up,” Onate said. “We’ve been in Macon for a long time.
“We were looking for a nice place to grow and to be downtown. Once the opportunity came, we knew it would be nice. I love downtown history and my brother has a downtown location in Norcross.”
His brother, Jesus Onate Jr., owns and operates Zapata Tacos and Tequila Bar on Jones Street in downtown Norcross.
Customers can expect the same good food at the Lazy Donkey now served up at the El Sombrero restaurants the business partners own but with a few different dishes.
“90% the same,” Lopez said. “Sometimes a cook might add a squeeze of lime or another spice but we try to keep everything the same.”
Popular menu items include the Sope de Pollo (chicken soup), the Agave Special, the Lazy Donkey salad and the Enchilada lunch.
The Agave Special is grilled steak or chicken, onions, peppers and tomatoes on a bed of rice topped with cheese dip.
The Lazy Donkey salad is the same as the El Sombrero salad at their other restaurants: a crispy flour shell filled with grilled chicken, beef and shrimp with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, black olives, slices of avocado and topped with melted cheese.
The enchilada lunch includes two chicken enchiladas topped with nacho cheese and tomatillo sauce and served with a choice of rice or beans.
New restaurant hours have yet to be finalized, with the business partners likely to test the waters once the restaurant has its alcohol license as far as how late the restaurant will be open, Onate said.
Also, they plan to add a patio area for outside dining and expect to use plants to create an enclosure, he said.
The restaurant offers dine-in and takeout.
This story was originally published February 25, 2022 11:11 AM.