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Covington Continues Its Quest for International Dining














Zapata Cantina Opens as the Newest Restaurant in Covington

Hailing his city as a destinationfor international dining, Covington Mayor Joe Meyer welcomed Zapata Cantina as the newest restaurant opening in the city during a September 16 ribbon-cutting ceremony. Zapata joins restaurants offering Guatemalan and Asian fare.

The eatery is named after the early 20th century Mexican revolutionary and folk hero. Its focus is Mexican street food. All the food is made inhouse. Adult beverages are also a major focus of Zapata with a wide selection of mezcal and tequila along with several new concoctions using bourbon. Customers can store their unfinished bottles in a “tequila bunker” near the front entrance at 8th & Madison.

The restaurant is housed where Frisch’s used to be decades ago. The site had fallen into disrepair and had a reputation for being one of the darkest and dim vacant properties in the Central Business District.

That all started to change when attorney Eric Steiden and his Madison Ventures company bought the building in July 2017. “The place had so much potential, but it had been vacant and deteriorating for decades,” said Steiden. “We feel that this building is a meaningful component to the continued development of the Covington CBD, and seeing it come back to life has been a terrific experience.”

“Covington’s growth has exploded over the past few years, and we want to be part of the incredible revitalization of the city. The Eighth and Madison corner anchors the development that is spreading toward the south end of the central business district”, says Alex Rodriguez, co-owner and general manager.

Rodriguez’s father, Gary, is a restaurant co-owner. Having immigrated to the United States in 1974, Gary Rodriguez has been in the business for more than 40 years. In 2019, he was named the Ohio Restaurant Association’s Restaurateur of the year for the southern region of Ohio.

Future plans include expansion of the Eighth Street sidewalk to accommodate outdoor dining.

Zapata Cantina is located at 801 Madison Avenue, in Covington, KY.

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