Luchita's has closed after 40 years in business.
After immigrating to Cleveland from Mexico City, Maria de la Luz Galindo realized her dream of opening a restaurant in her new hometown. In 1982, at the age of 62, Galindo opened Luchita’s Mexican Restaurant (3456 W. 117th St.) on Cleveland's west side. The restaurant quickly became a staple in the community, serving many local residents their first taste of authentic Mexican cooking.
For the past 15 years, the restaurant has been owned and operated by Eduardo Galindo after his grandmother retired. "Luchita" passed away in 2016 at the age of 97.
Sadly, after a remarkable 40-year run, the restaurant closed its doors last week.
"Ever since the pandemic, it's been an uphill climb," says Galindo. "We finally decided to pull the plug on it. We've been very fortunate to last as long as we have. We're very thankful for all the people who have come through those doors over the past 40 years."
The original recipes were informed by the family's’ roots in central Mexico, which blend indigenous cuisine with colonial European influences. Luchita’s was well known for its signature mole sauce, which is served atop enchiladas, burritos and the classic pollo en mole Poblano.
Over the years, additional Luchita's locations have popped up around Northeast Ohio, but the W. 117th original was the lone surviving shop.
Galindo is leaving the door open to the possibility of reviving the brand in a different location down the road.
"We need to take a step back and gather ourselves," he adds.