Victor Juarez is bringing some Mexican flare to the German Settlement.
The 14-year Lovettsville-area resident and the owner of a painting and drywall business is on track to open Rodeo’s Mexican Grill in the former Lovettsville Pizza & Subs location off South Loudoun Street in May, almost eight months after the pizza parlor closed its doors after nearly 24 years in business.
Juarez, 54, was born in Mexico into a family with a background steeped in the nation’s traditional culture. He said his desire to open the Mexican restaurant comes after years of residents begging him to do so in a town where the closest Mexican cuisine is 12 miles south in Purcellville. Rodeo’s will feature dishes like enchiladas, fajitas and chile relleno fixed up in a much more Mexican fashion.
“[Residents] pushed me to open it,” he said. “We can try, right?”
Aside from his cousin formerly owning the now-closed Casa Gonzales Mexican restaurant in Leesburg, Juarez has no family history or experience in the restaurant industry. However, he’s confident that the partnership he’s formed with Adan Valdez, the owner of Frida’s Mexican Restaurant in Dillwyn, will give him the knowledge and skills he needs to succeed in Lovettsville.
As for the name of the restaurant, Juarez got that from the charreada rodeos he hosts at his home just outside the town limits each year in April. Juarez calls the event his annual Mexican Rodeo and it’s held on his 5-acre property, which he’s named Lienzo Charro Azteca—roughly translated from Spanish as being the location of an arena where charros, or traditional Mexican horsemen, meet for rodeos.
Juarez’s events aren’t what most Americans think of when they hear the word “rodeo,” though. In Mexico, and at Juarez’s home, the charreada rodeos are exhibition events where horse riders show off their riding skills and lasso bulls.
Juarez said he started hosting those rodeos annually about a decade ago after being inspired by his rodeo superstar uncle, Indio Juarez, who attracted thousands to Mexico’s rodeos throughout the 1980s and ‘90s. Juarez’s Lovettsville rodeos now bring in about 60 riders and close to 200 visitors each year.
That’s where Juarez met Valdez a few years ago. Fast forward to last 2018, when Chuck Blough closed Lovettsville Pizza & Subs on Sept. 29, the Juarez-Valdez partnership was beginning to amp up.
Fred George, the owner of the building, said that Lovettsville residents have been waiting for a Mexican restaurant to open in the town for years. “There’s been a lot of push for Mexican—there seems to be a lot of excitement about it,” he said.
While Juarez has yet to set a date for the grand opening of Rodeo’s Mexican Grill, he’s looking at a mid-May opening. When that happens, residents will be sure to hear about it, since there’s going to be a Mariachi band playing on the site.