El Mariachi to open new location in downtown Wareham

Jan 7, 2015

Ensaladas, enchiladas, chimichangas, margaritas and more are coming to downtown Wareham.

The popular Mexican restaurant El Mariachi, with locations in Taunton, Easton, and most recently Seekonk, is in the initial phases of a move to the building known as Webster Hall at 207 Main Street, with loose plans to open in March.

The building, which is owned by Kalkanis Realty Trust, which includes Jim and George Kalkanis, owners of Minerva’s Pizzeria on Main Street, has been leased to Jose Lopez. Lopez is the owner of the three other El Mariachi locations.

His nephew, Luis Contreras, will run the restaurant, and he’s excited to bring their newest venture to town.

“We’re family-owned — we’re not a franchise,” said Contreras. “My uncle, he gave me the opportunity. I really like it here — I’m in love with the location.”

Contreras, 31, is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico. He said he’s been involved in the restaurant business since moving to California as a teen, and came to Massachusetts to help his uncle at his other restaurants, eventually becoming a manager.

“He brought me here,” said Contreras. ”He was the one who came first.”

El Mariachi specializes in traditional and authentic Mexican cuisine and atmosphere, and those from the area may be familiar with their location on Taunton Green.

Contreras said that when they got there in 2009, the area was a bit rough, but since then, he’s seen its surroundings grow for the better. He hopes to see the same in Wareham.

“My uncle, he said, ‘We’ve got to bring a light to these towns,’” said Contreras.

Others also think the restaurant will continue to change the face of downtown.

“Another restaurant on Main Street is a great addition,” said Jim Kalkanis. “They’re adding variety, and they’re bringing in more traffic.”

Kalkanis credits officials from the town of Wareham — such as Salvador Pina from the Community Economic Development Authority, Town Administrator Derek Sullivan, and Selectmen — with supporting new business and beautifying the area, creating a bit of a resurgence on Main Street. He said businesses like the newly opened Mumma Mary’s combined with renovations to several buildings have livened up the block.

“Everybody’s done a significant amount of improvements,” he said. “They’ve done a fantastic job.”

Lopez said he’s excited to bring his business to the area, as well.

“I like the town, and I like the location,” he said. “We hope people like it.”

Contreras said aside from some cosmetic changes, they’d like to keep the integrity of the building, which was built in 1859, close to what people remember.

They’ve already added a half-wall separating the bar area from the dining room to make it more family friendly, but that’s likely the most significant change to the structure of the building.

Contreras said he values keeping the building historically significant, just as they did with their location in Taunton.

“Once I got inside, I pictured myself with the people at all the tables, and I said, ‘I’ve got to do this,’” he said.