New Mexican Restaurant — “Pancho’s Cantina” — Coming To Wilmington

WILMINGTON, MA — A Mexican restaurant proposal is currently in front of the Board of Selectmen and Town Health Director.

Pancho’s Cantina will be located at 206 Ballardvale Street, in the strip mall next to Target.  The restaurant will anchor the strip mall, occupying its largest space and corner unit. Neighbors include Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Sweet Pizza, Hair Cuttery, and Wilmington Dental.  The location had been vacant since the strip mall opened in 2015.

One of the restaurant’s principal owners is Elisandro “Dan” Chavez.  Chavez received a culinary arts degree from the City College of San Fransisco in 2003.  He’s worked in a number of restaurants, bars, cafes, and hotels over the past 14 years, most recently serving as a restaurant consultant.  He is a principal at the Casa Blanca locations in Andover and North Andover.

The restaurant boasts 3,868 square feet (plus a 1,200 square feet basement), with 108 seats planned.  (All seats are interior. There is no exterior seating.)  The restaurant will include a bar.  There will be no function room.  Regular live entertainment is not yet planned.  The restaurant will likely close between 10:30pm and 11pm on most nights.

The restaurant will offer a full menu of Mexican cuisine, including tacos (hard and soft), burritos, and fajitas.

“There are 9,000 employees within a 4-minute drive,” Chavez told Selectmen at their meeting on Monday night.  “There’s not much in the area for lunch.  Folks want something new, fresh and different…. The restaurant is a great fit for the location and the community.”

“The Town could really use a good Mexican restaurant,” responded Selectman Mike McCoy. “I wish you the best of luck.”

“This will be a great addition to the town,” added Selectman Ed Loud.

“I’m looking forward to having a Mexican restaurant in town,” echoed Selectman Kevin Caira.

“I’m a big fan of spicy food and am a frequent Casa Blanca visitor.  This will be a nice addition to the town,” said Selectman Greg Bendel.

“This looks great to me… I think you’re going to get a lot of employees in the area for lunch and then lot of [residents] at night,” said Selectman Mike Champoux.  “It’s really a nice enhancement… to that area.”

Town Manager Jeff Hull noted that all the relevant Town Department heads have issued positive recommendations regarding the owner’s request for an all-alcohol license.

Selectmen voted 4-0-1 (Selectman Caira abstained) to grant the license.  Selectmen will consider granting the necessary common victualer license at its next meeting on Monday, June 12 at 7pm.  Of note, the town’s Health Director has  yet to sign off on the proposal. The Board of Health next meets on Tuesday, June 6 at 5:30pm.

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