CityView Magazine

August 2020

CityView Magazine - Fayetteville, NC

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40 | August 2020 and colorful entrepreneur who first brought Mexican food to town in the early 1960s. Some years later, a chance meeting between Agustin and Pedro led to a long friendship that was more akin to father and son. Agustin was an immigrant from Jalisco in western Mexico, the birthplace of tequila, who had come to this country with little more than a few dollars and a dream. He landed in the state of Washington, picking apples. ere, he toiled for years on a 100-acre farm before the owner unexpectedly sold the land. So Agustin moved to North Carolina, where he went to work in a Mexican restaurant in Carolina Beach. e business was owned by some family members, and the kitchen became his school. ere, he soaked up cooking knowledge and honed his skills. (at restaurant, formerly called El Serape, is now El Cazador. e name, translated "the hunter" in Spanish, was inspired by a tequila bottle label.) Pedro Osornio was a loyal customer when he was down at the beach. One day, he approached Agustin about becoming his heir apparent in Fayetteville. In 2002, El Cazador opened. e décor, down to the chairs, artwork and tchotchkes, are still pure Pedro's. Yet, Agustin's personal touches can be felt, too. He covered all the chairs in a bright green material. And he built every table from oak. e primitive stylings in the tables are a wonder to behold – and even more so when we learn the artist. Larry Frazier, who was confined to a wheelchair because of a birth defect, with no use of his hands or feet, created the table art by maneuvering a brush in his mouth. Frazier, who also was an English teacher, died in 2014. As for Pedro, he was a loyal customer of El Cazador until he passed away in 2016. e menu pays homage to the icon with items such as Pedro's Quesadilla, a dish "which comes straight from Guadalajara and was created in the original restaurant." e creation proves that simple can be best. Two tortillas are pressed together with a filling of chicken or beef, along with cheese, and topped with sliced jalapeños. Aer a lunch of perfectly seasoned steak fajitas on a recent weekday, a siesta is in order. My main server is Dolly from Colombia. Charming, attentive, big smile. She's wearing a mask. e diners are a cross-section of humanity. From millennials to boomers. Many are active- duty military, sprinkled in with business people, construction workers and retirees. On a Saturday, we go for takeout from the drive-up window. e beefy burrito, refried beans, rice and guacamole salad were nothing short of outstanding. And beyond filling. For $7.95. e crew even included chips and salsa. No doubt, the excellent food, service and ambiance earn El Cazador five stars all- around. Consistency keeps the hungry crowds coming back for more. e hunt is over. Supremely fresh soft tacos, one of the most popular dishes. If you hear a laugh echoing throughout the place, it's probably Agustin Alvarez. e affable owner and chef serves up a happy vibe, along with generous plates of nachos, tacos, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas, tamales and … so much more.

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