Rinconcito brings taste of Veracruz to Lake in the Hills

Luis Landa said he searched McHenry County in hopes of finding a good spot for his restaurant.

“I was driving around all the time looking for a place,” Landa said.

He settled on Lake in the Hills, opening Rinconcito de Veracruz at 2122 W. Algonquin Road on Aug. 15. The location he picked was last home to Cachas Taco Bar.

Landa said he was thinking about opening a restaurant for a decade.

“We noticed Lake in the Hills didn't have an authentic Mexican restaurant,” said Landa, who is from Martínez de la Torre, Veracruz, a state in eastern Mexico, and attended McHenry West High School.

Landa said business has been picking up, and the restaurant is working on acquiring a liquor license from Lake in the Hills.

Once the liquor license is approved, Landa said, the restaurant will expand its drink menu to include popular cocktails such as margaritas and piña coladas, but also some cocktails Veracruz residents enjoy.

One of those cocktails is the cantarito, which includes orange juice, grape juice, lime and spices with tequila and is served in a clay jar. The restaurant will extend its hours when the liquor license is approved, Landa said.

In addition to cocktails, the restaurant has an extensive menu featuring seafood dishes popular in Veracruz.

“Any state that's on the coast is big on seafood,” Landa said.

Restaurant patrons also might see American foods such as chicken fingers when they order. The inspiration for including those items comes from personal experience, Landa said.

“Every time our kids went to a Mexican restaurant, they wouldn't eat,” he said. “I want to have something for everyone so they can choose what they want.”

The menu includes American fare such as patty melts and cheeseburgers, but also burgers with toppings such as guacamole, queso fresco and pico de gallo.

The restaurant was very busy during a recent Sunday, Landa said. Many of the diners hailed from Veracruz and came to Rinconcito for the seafood.

“We had a family that came from Chicago,” Landa said. “They actually ordered to-go, too.”

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