CityView Magazine

August 2020

CityView Magazine - Fayetteville, NC

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38 | August 2020 The Hunt Leads To El Cazador Oh, deer! Track the wildlife to experience some of the best in authentic Mexican cuisine BY JANET GIBSON PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAT THEW WONDERLY GOOD EATS K now how you can immediately tell if a Mexican restaurant is going to be worth its salt? e chips and salsa. at's right. e first thing that gets delivered to the table by a server who disappears as quickly as a shadow in the desert. But, wait. Chase him down for some fresh, chunky guac, and you know the rest of the story. We eat too much. It's in those initial moments – bonus points if the chips have been warmed – that set the scene for the main attraction: our entrées. In the case of El Cazador, come hungry. Because every bite is guaranteed to be pure, authentic Mexican bliss. Agustin Alvarez is the man to thank for that. If you hear a laugh echoing throughout the place, it's probably him. e affable owner and head chef serves up a happy vibe, along with generous plates of nachos, tacos, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas, tamales and … so much more. All are made with quality ingredients and meticulous attention to detail. (And, yes, the chips, salsa and guacamole are rave-worthy, too, as are the margaritas, frozen or on ice, to nicely wash it all down.) Alvarez's sense of humor extends to the outside of his golden-colored restaurant and cantina, one of his four locations. is, the flagship, is situated on one of the 'Ville's busiest thoroughfares – Skibo Road. Look for the imposing, life-size deer statues fronting Skibo. Alvarez says he knew they were perfect for his eatery as soon as he spotted them at a roadside outpost near White Lake. e deer setup includes a Western-style wagon, craed by one of his friends who simply goes by the nickname "e Gas Man." Longtime locals may recall that El Cazador was the site of the eponymous restaurant owned by the late Pedro Osornio, a revered Agustin Alvarez holds a bottle of tequila that inspired the name of his restaurant. El Cazador translates in Spanish "the hunter," although Alvarez says he would rather spend time in nature – or in the kitchen – than tracking wildlife. He is originally from Jalisco in western Mexico, the birthplace of tequila.

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