Restaurant Mexcalito Taco Bar to replace Mama Iguana’s in downtown Northampton

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Staff Writer

Published: 05-18-2023 5:36 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A new Mexican restaurant is coming to downtown, taking over the Main Street space formerly occupied by Mama Iguana’s.

Mexcalito Taco Bar, a restaurant and bar serving authentic Mexican tacos that opened in Amherst in 2021, expects to open its Northampton location at 271 Main St. net month, co-owner Antonio Marquez Diaz said.

“We’re growing really well in Amherst, and we believe Northampton is the second step for the project,” Diaz said. “I feel I need to do something for the community there.”

The Northampton License Commission earlier this month OK’d transferring Mama Iguana’s all-alcohol liquor license to Mexcalito.

A native of the Mexican city of Guadalajara, Diaz serves tacos that reflect the diversity of his home country, such as tacos al pastor, based on lamb shawarma dishes brought by Middle Eastern immigrants, cochinita pibil tacos made with slow-roasted pork and sour oranges, and seafood tacos containing fish and shrimp fried in corn batter.

The restaurant stresses authenticity in its creations, with tortillas being made from scratch on site. All of the restaurant’s dishes are gluten free, as its tortillas are made with corn, not wheat.

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Diaz said he had been in conversations with Claudio Guerra, the owner of Mama Iguana’s, about potentially moving into the Main Street building for at least a year. The former restaurant had been a staple of Northampton’s downtown for the past 16 years before closing permanently in April 2022.

“When we first started talking, we decided it wasn’t the right time just yet,” Diaz said. “Then about three months ago, we started talking again.”

Like the Amherst location, the Mexcalito in Northampton will be open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, serving only a select portion of its menu after 10 p.m. while the bar remains open.

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