A calm atmosphere and friendly service are the first things guests may notice at El Idolo Restaurant in Bartlett, but they perk up even more when they get a whiff and then a taste of the authentic Mexico cooking. By popular vote, the business has earned the honor of 2016 Restaurant of the Year.
Manager Alex Lopez said his father, Raul Fuentes, owns the business, which is run entirely by about half a dozen family members. It opened in January 2014 and has had good business since its start, mostly based on word-of-mouth advertising. El Idolo had a good start based on his father’s 20 years of restaurant experience and his uncle’s selection of Bartlett and the building as the right site.
The most common question that first-time guests have is to ask what the name means. El Idolo is his hometown in Mexico, Fuentes said. He believes the city got its name from the large rocks in the area.
The cooking at El Idolo is based on family recipes, and one popular dish is el molcate, which includes chicken, beef, pork and cheese. Customers who want to try samples from the menu only have to ask, including tastes of El Idolo’s margaritas (for those old enough to drink).
In addition to the good food, Lopez said customer service helps keep people coming back again and again. “I think everybody says we take good care of our people,” he said. “Everybody feels comfortable in here.”
The business integrates with the community by supporting events like a special night that gives 10 percent of funds raised to a local charity, school or civic institution. Fuentes also has a loyalty program that rewards repeat customers.
The team’s approach to running the business successfully is simple: Leave people happy and wanting to come back.
Lopez doesn’t plan on changing that. “We always have good service and good food, and we keep that the same.”
Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to email@example.com.