breaking news

Village newcomer adds a Mexican touch

January 31st, 2018 | by LCN Editor
Village newcomer adds a Mexican touch

The lack of a solid background in the hospitality trade hasn’t hampered Belfast man, Robert McGregor (33) in his efforts to establish a successful restaurant chain.

Robert, who runs his own wholesale beauty supplies business, made his first foray into the catering trade in November 2016 when he opened the doors on the Boston Grill in Lisburn.

And now, just 12 months later, he’s building on the venue’s success by opening a second restaurant, this time on the Stranmillis Road in south Belfast.

El Chapo – which opened at the end of November in premises formerly occupied by Birdcage restaurant – is a Mexican-themed eatery that specialises in tapas, tacos and, of course, tequila.

Inside the new restaurant, strikingly bright neon signage is complemented by vibrant street art and dimmed lighting to create a wonderful ambience with a definite Mexican vibe. It’s a lot darker than would have been the case before and a beautiful copper bar top has been added as a signature feature.

Pictured in El Chapo are (from left) bartender, Jordan Leeman; director, Robert McGregor and executive chef, Andrew Logan.


According to Robert, who spoke to LCN in early January, business at El Chapo since November has been brisk:

“The weekends have been strongest”, he added, “but the response generally has been really great, we’ve had lots of support locally here and believe it or not, we’ve had lots of people travelling to visit us. I think we’re already something of a destination for local diners.”

Robert revealed that while no structural changes were necessary at the venue, El Chapo’s interior design and décor had to be undertaken from scratch, and he added:

“A year after we opened the Boston Grill in Lisburn, I was looking for another restaurant location. I had been considering a second Boston Grill, but I’m a big fan of South America and Mexico, and we thought this style of restaurant would bring something different to the current offering in Stranmillis,” he added.

“Feedback from the customers has been great, they love the fact that we’re offering something a bit different, they love the big tequila selection, and the small plates and our veggie option is very popular.”

The menu at El Chapo will change seasonally and some very special varieties of tequila have been added to the drinks list at the restaurant as the spirit continues to rise in popularity.

Robert’s focus for 2018 is firmly on El Chapo:

“We want to get it up to number one on Trip Advisor locally,” he says. “That was our focus at Boston Grill and it comes down to feedback from customers and reviews, so customer service is going to be key along with consistency. We really want to see El Chapo achieve that.”

He also revealed that he is continuing to look for other sites in Belfast or elsewhere in order to open further branches of his Boston Grill or El Chapo brands.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *