In Good Taste

The Best Cinco de Mayo Fiestas Happening This Weekend

Celebrate Mexican-American culture with the authentic eats and drinks at these spots.

By Lauren Cohen | April 30, 2019, 4:39 pm

Margaritas at Vida Taco Bar. -Photography by Jordan Zelesnick
In Good Taste

The Best Cinco de Mayo Fiestas Happening This Weekend

Celebrate Mexican-American culture with the authentic eats and drinks at these spots.

By Lauren Cohen | April 30, 2019, 4:39 pm

Margaritas at Vida Taco Bar. -Photography by Jordan Zelesnick

While Americans are known to embrace the fake mustaches, noise-making maracas, and massive margaritas that are typically associated with Cinco de Mayo, in Mexico, the fifth of May isn’t as big of a party as one might think.

“Our independence is celebrated on the 16th of September,” explains Cocina Luchadoras owner Rosalyn Vera, whose family hails from Puebla, Mexico. “People have the weekend off and usually there’s a parade for Cinco de Mayo, but it’s not nearly as big as the celebrations on our Independence Day.”

Even so, Vera sees Cinco de Mayo—the anniversary of the Mexicans’ unlikely victory over France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862—as a holiday for Americans to celebrate the contributions that Mexican immigrants have made throughout history. In her case, that means sharing her family’s traditions through food.

“We’re happy to be represented in that way,” she says. “Food unites us—I can always see it in people when they come in.”

This weekend, Vera will climb on board the Wilde Thyme food truck for a collaborative pop-up at Monument City Brewing Company on Saturday before pulling out some of her special recipes for Cinco de Mayo service at her Upper Fells Point restaurant. Among the featured tacos will be shredded tinga de pollo, lamb barbacoa, and cochinita pibil—braised shredded pork with citrus.

In addition to Cocina Luchadoras, plenty of other spots around town are featuring eats and drinks in honor of the holiday.

Clavel: A three-day fiesta is in the works at this beloved taqueria and mezcaleria in Remington. To kick off the holiday weekend, Sinaloa-born chef Carlos Raba will head outside to grill carne asada, al pastor, and cebollitas (grilled green onions) during dinner service on May 3. There will also be a ceviche special, and the bar team plans to shake up cilantro margaritas all weekend long. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the big day, enjoy Clavel’s classic brunch plates, including huevos rancheros and chilaquiles with salsa verde, alongside a selection of tacos from the dinner menu. 225 W. 23rd St. 443-900-8983

La Calle: Chef/owner Valentino Sandoval, a native of Puebla, is offering a pages-long list of specials for his first-ever Cinco de Mayo party at La Calle downtown. Head to the restaurant to chow down on $2 tacos, $4 orders of chips and salsa, $5 nachos, $6 empanadas, and $7 ceviches. Wash down all of the discounted snacks with $2 canned beers, $3.50 bottles, and $4.50 drafts. A signature $5 drink menu includes tequila shots, classic margaritas, micheladas, and red and white sangria. 10 South St. 667-312-2964

La Palapa Grill & Cantina: The doors to this annual blowout in Ellicott City open at 10 a.m. Head to the restaurant early for brunch, or stop by throughout the day to dance to live mariachi music, sip cocktails, and enjoy tacos from an outdoor pop-up grill. A portion of all proceeds from the tent in the front parking lot, which will feature a Red Bull bar, tequila drinks, and DJs spinning all day, will benefit Voices for Children Howard County. 8307 Main St, Ellicott City. 410-465-0070

Nacho Mama’s: Both locations of this Tex-Mex hangout in Canton and Towson will be starting things off early with an “Uno and Dos de Mayo” fiesta May 1-2. From 4-8 p.m., enjoy corn hole, margaritas, and the release of Flying Dog’s Numero Dos dark lager. Swing by throughout the weekend to take advantage of $4 Modelo drafts, $18 Corona buckets, and $15 hubcap margaritas equipped with multiple straws for sharing. 2907 O’Donnell St. 410-675-0898

Papi’s Tacos: This Fells Point staple known for its DIY tacos and antojitos (Mexican street food) is going all out with special sips that will replace its typical all-you-can-drink deals on Sundays. Get in the spirit with $3.50 screwdrivers, mimosas, Bloody Marys, and tequila sunrises. Or, if you’re celebrating with a group, indulge in $17 pitchers of Modelo and Pacifico beer, as well as $23 Corona buckets. As an added bonus, the long-awaited Papi’s location in Hampden has officially opened just in time for Cinco de Mayo—promising plenty of food and drink discounts for a bonafide Sunday funday. Multiple locations including 1703 Aliceanna St. 410-299-8480

Vida Taco Bar: Head toward the massive white tents in Harbor Point for the “Cuatro de Mayo” festival hosted by Vida Taco Bar on May 4. The all-day festivities happening from 12-10 p.m. will include Mexican street food, cocktails made with Sagamore Spirit whiskey and Ilegal mezcal, live DJ entertainment, piñata smashing, and even an outdoor viewing of the Kentucky Derby, which just so happens to fall on the same day. 1401 Point St. 443-835-3474

Woody’s Cantina: Take in the killer waterfront views of Fells Point at this rooftop watering hole, which is celebrating accordingly with a three-day extravaganza. Complimentary Casamigos tequila samples will be flowing on Friday night, followed by bottomless brunch service and Espolon bottle engraving on Saturday. On Cinco de Mayo, show up early to enjoy beat-the-clock specials that start at $2 and increase every hour. Revelers will be able to get in plenty of liquid courage before karaoke kicks off at 2 p.m. 821 S. Broadway. 410-563-6600




Meet The Author

Lauren Cohen is the digital senior editor at Baltimore, where she covers food, events, lifestyle, and community news.



You May Also Like


On The Town

Thanksgiving Eve Remains a Time-Honored Tradition in Baltimore

Reconnect with your home-for-the-holiday crew at these bars and events.

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: Wrapping Up The Year in Food

Plus, Jason Hisley wins 'Holiday Wars' and we dish on our best bites of the year.

In Good Taste

Jason Hisley Wins Food Network’s ‘Holiday Wars’

Cake by Jason owner shares challenges, triumphs, and bringing the win home to Baltimore.


In Good Taste

Open & Shut: The Boiler Room; Da Mimmo; Coelum

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

In Good Taste

Pastry Chefs Share Holiday Cookie Recipes Your Friends Will Love

These festive treats are sure to impress at parties and cookie swaps.

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: Why You Should Always Check Your Restaurant Receipt

Plus, New Year's resolutions, Jewish deli closures, and our best bites of the week.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Maryland Native Maggie Rogers Receives First Grammy Nomination: The singer-songwriter was nominated for “Best New Artist” alongside big-name acts.

Will Judge Make an Example Out of Catherine Pugh?: With the former mayor’s sentencing scheduled for February, both sides get to work on their case.

Gervonta Davis Wins Another World Title Belt, Eyes ‘Big Year’ Ahead: West Baltimore’s own was bruised, but not beaten in longest fight of his pro career.

Four Key Updates on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Here’s what the BSO has been up to since performances resumed in September.

What to Know About the Maryland Cycling Classic Coming September 2020: For starters, Baltimore's pro cycling event will be more than 100 miles long.