Photos by Karin McKenna
Some of the delicious offerings at El Carnicero.
Apart from a brief couple of weeks last fall, both Momocho and El Carnicero
have been closed to dine-in customers, relying solely on carry-out business to see them through the pandemic. And that’s just what they’ve done, says chef and owner Eric Williams.
“I am sincerely grateful and appreciative of the support from carry-out,” he says. “It kept both of these restaurants alive.”
But now, the chef is ready to welcome diners back into both establishments. In fact, Williams quietly opened the doors to both his Lakewood and Ohio City businesses last week. The under-the-radar approach afforded him and his staff to opportunity to prepare at their own speed.
“We’ve been planning this for months so that we could be very precise and safe and do it slowly,” Williams adds.
When they return, diners might notice new lighting, fresh paint and generously spaced tables in the dining rooms and patios. Behind the scenes, upgrades to HVAC and sanitation protocols also have been implemented.
El Carnicero is still enjoying the use of its new sidewalk patio, which seats 24 guests with access to the full menu and bar. While Momocho could seat upwards of 55, Williams has pared that number down to just 40.
“Momocho can easily pack more in but we limited it because I really want people come and sit down and feel safe,” he says.
One exciting new change is the launch of daily happy hours (4 – 6 p.m.) regardless of one’s perch in the properties, inside or out.
“We decided to do happy hour every night that we’re open at every seat because with just six seats at the bar, I can’t have happy hour,” he says.
Like most operators who have clung for survival over the past 12 months, Williams is thrilled to be able to slowly and safely expand his operation.
“I think everybody is tingling with anticipation with what to do next and how to do it,” he adds.