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La Media Luna brings traditional Mexican dishes to Fayetteville

Julio Leonardo and his nephew Adrian opened La Media Luna in late 2016 to carry on the family tradition of cooking authentic Mexican dishes.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A Fayetteville restaurant hopes to serve traditional Mexican dishes to Northwest Arkansas.

La Media Luna in Fayetteville was opened in late 2016 by Julio Leonardo and his nephew Adrian Leonardo. Julio previously owned a Taqueria, specializing in tacos, but wanted to bring more traditional dishes to the area. 

There are 32 states in the country of Mexico and each one has its own take on its traditional dishes.

"Mexican families, I believe we learn little by little since when we were children," Julio said. "I could see how my grandma or my mom prepared El Mole since she started toasting her peppers in a Comal. I saw she put the crackers, the chocolate, the plantain. I saw how they prepared a turkey and boiled it, to eat it with the mole. That is what the traditions that we saw there and could learn."

The name of the restaurant comes from the namesake of his family farm, La Media Luna. Julio says he started learning how to cook traditional Mexican dishes well in his hometown of Hidalgo, Mexico as he watched his grandmother Maria Felix and mother Carolina cook as a child.

Leaving his home country in 1995, Julio always brought a piece of Mexico in his heart.

Credit: KFSM
Left to right is Mom Carolina, Sister Margarita, Grandmother Maria Felix, Father David Leonardo

"We continue doing it because, like you say, for the love, for the tradition," he said. "One remembers and when you are preparing remember that this is what your mom or grandma made. And there is where we continue seeing if the flavors are the same or try to make similar."

"There's not that many restaurants that have authentic dishes like we do so I feel real proud of our restaurant," Adrian said.

The restaurant hopes to continue serving traditional dishes in order to not lose focus on its culture.

"I think we shouldn't lose the traditions that we have of our ancestors and continue," Julio said. "I believe that every time we're fighting a little more so that we don't lose that. It's what we want to continue rescuing traditional Mexican plates and that the clients see that we don't only have beans and rice, if not more important dishes."

"I want to teach all these dishes to my kids and also the people that come here," Adrian said.

The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It's located at 2135 Main in Fayetteville near Wright's BBQ and Dollar General.

Click here for more information.

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