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Small Business Focus: Los Chamacos, One of Arlington’s Newest Culinary Destinations

Opening a new restaurant isn’t easy, but opening a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic takes real grit and perseverance.

With our Small Business Focus this week, we wanted to highlight one of Arlington’s newest culinary destinations, Los Chamacos, located at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive. Los Chamacos offers authentic Mexican dishes and an immersive dining experience where customers can experience Mexican culture. From the first step in, the music and the decoration offer a comfortable and welcoming environment.

Started by Benedicto Yanez and his wife, Jessica, Los Chamacos opened its doors on Jan. 17, 2021. Benedicto has been working in the food industry for 24 years, gaining knowledge throughout his years as a chef working in different Spanish, European and American restaurants.

Circumstances around the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic gave them the opportunity to open Los Chamacos to make a living and employ those in need of a job. Jessica felt nostalgia for her home country’s gastronomy, so they decided to open a Mexican restaurant offering authentic Mexican cuisine.

“We are different from Tex-Mex and regular burritos; we offer authenticity,” Benedicto said.

By offering 100% authentic Mexican food, Los Chamacos differentiates itself from other Mexican restaurants. With the food and the services, this restaurant has become what the customer looks for when wanting to experience the Mexican culture through food.

“We like to treat our customers the way they would like to be treated at home because we aim to recreate their household’s atmosphere,” Benedicto said.

Opening during the COVID -19 pandemic posed a unique challenge for Los Chamacos’ owners, as many customers avoided indoor dining. However, Los Chamacos continued to build its reputation in the community during this time by growing its social media presence, focusing on other marketing and publicity efforts, and utilizing available resources from BizLaunch.

“If we overcome the pandemic and all the constraints it brought, then we can overcome any obstacle that lies ahead,” Benedicto said. “Having faith in God kept us working toward our goal.”

As a complement to its food offerings, the restaurant’s bar is known for its non-alcoholic beverages — any drink on the menu is available in a non-alcoholic version. That’s right! Customers can enjoy a margarita, El Chamaco, La Chamaca or a cantarito with no alcohol. That means everyone can enjoy a tasty and cold drink.

As vaccination rates trend upward in Virginia and customers feel more comfortable dining at restaurants, Los Chamacos continues to take additional precautions to ensure the safety of customers and employees. The restaurant complies with social distancing and sanitation recommendations to ensure everyone feels comfortable during their visit.

Benedicto and Jessica are thankful for the help of their neighbors, friends, customers and BizLaunch in opening Los Chamacos. Each one of them participated in the success of the restaurant from the very beginning.

Next time you find yourself looking for a place to try delectable Mexican cuisine, visit Los Chamacos at 922 S. Walter Reed Drive. They can also be found on Facebook, Yelp, TikTok and Instagram.

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