Dining With Denise Neil

Where to eat on and near the Nico parade route on Saturday

El Pollo Dorado, a popular Mexican food truck, is on Saturday’s parade route.
El Pollo Dorado, a popular Mexican food truck, is on Saturday’s parade route. File photo

Welcoming an Olympic medal winner home can be hungry work.

Fortunately, plenty of good restaurants operate on or near the route of a Saturday parade that will celebrate Nico Hernandez, a boxer from Wichita who won bronze at the Rio games.

Wichita's Nico Hernandez arrived at Eisenhower National Airport to a cheering crowd on Tuesday after he won a bronze medal in boxing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. (Video by Travis Heying and Jaime Green/The Wichita Eagle)

The route is in north Wichita, home of some muy bueno Mexican dining. The area has some of Wichita’s most popular sit-down restaurants as well as several taco trucks and tortillerias.

The parade will start at 10 a.m. at 21st and Broadway then head west to Waco, where it will turn south to end at 13th and Waco. A community celebration will follow at Hernandez’s alma mater, North High School, at 11 a.m.

Here are a few places you could stop for lunch or breakfast on Saturday before, during or after the parade.

On the route

El Pollo Dorado al Carbon, 128 W. 21st St.: The delicious aroma wafting through the parade route on Saturday morning will be provided by this food truck, which operates from a permanent location at the corner of 21st Street and Wellington Place. It specializes in grilled chicken but also serves tacos made with carne asada, al pastor and more. It should be open by 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Birrieria Ocotlan: 124 E. 21st St.: This Mexican restaurant specializes in birria style of cooking, whose featured ingredient is goat. The menu includes two styles of goat – the more traditional preparation made with adobe sauce, which is put into tacos and into birria, the goat stew; and country style, which takes the meat straight from the pot to the taco. The restaurant opens at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Tortilleria Rodriguez, 1859 N. Waco: This tortilleria specializes in fresh corn and flour tortillas but also has a menu of Mexican favorites, including sanchos, tacos and tamales. There are only a few seats in the tiny restaurant, so it’d be a good place to get something to go. It’s open at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Near the route

Cortez Mexican Restaurant, 344 W. 29th St. N.: This Mexican restaurant has been the headquarters for watch parties and celebrations since Hernandez’s Olympic journey began. And it serves a Mexican buffet on Saturdays. It’s a short drive from the parade route and opens at 11 a.m.

Taqueria El Paisa, 2227 N. Arkansas: This longtime sit-down Mexican restaurant, which specializes in tacos, fajitas, burritos, shrimp cocktail and other authentic Mexican favorites, is just a few blocks off the parade route. And Saturday might be a good day to visit because it closes for good on Sunday. It opens at 10 a.m.

Connie’s Mexico Cafe, 2227 N. Broadway: Connie’s, one of Wichita’s oldest and most popular sit-down Mexican restaurants, also is just a short distance from the start of the parade route. The restaurant’s owners are big Nico Hernandez supporters and have been posting about him on Facebook all week. They’ll welcome parade-goers starting at 11 a.m.

El Rancho, 2801 N. Broadway: This Mexican restaurant, which was just named as a favorite in a story about where local restaurant owners and chefs eat, also is just a short drive from the start of the parade route. It opens at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Those in-the-know say the barbacoa can’t be beat and also recommend verde pork and potato gordita.

Rostizeria Los Reyes, 512 W. 21st St.: This tiny restaurant offers a Mexican food buffet and specializes in roasted chicken. It opens at 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays.

Paleteria la Reyna, 2925 N. Arkansas: You can get a delicious Mexican ice cream treat and an authentic Mexican meal at this Mexican ice cream shop, which is a short drive from the parade route. It has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. It opens at 9 a.m. on Saturdays.

Bill’s Charcoal Grill, 2957 N. Arkansas: This longtime Wichita favorite sells grilled burgers and Mexican favorites. It opens at 11 a.m. on Saturdays.

Fans gathered at Cortez Restaurant in Wichita to watch Nico Hernandez fights Uzbekistan's Hasanboy Dusmatov on August 12, 2016 in the semifinals of the Olympic light flyweight division. Hernandez lost a unanimous decision. (video by Jaime Green)

20­year­old Wichita native Nico Hernandez makes his Olympic debut in Rio as light flyweight boxer (108 lbs). “When I’m in the ring, I’m just thinking about my family and making a better life for them,” Hernandez said.

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil

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