Editor’s note: From Oct. 1-8, we’ll be featuring each of the winners from the eight categories of the Owensboro Times Eat Down the Street Competition. The championship week of the voting competition will begin Oct. 11, when eight finalists will face off for the title of the overall favorite local restaurant. Today, we feature Don Mario, which was voted as the favorite local Mexican restaurant.
Ever since they opened in January 2020, Don Mario has been driven to give guests an authentic and unique experience at Mexican restaurant’s downtown location.
Oralis Raddila, owner of Don Mario, has been dedicated to that mission — drawing on her previous time spent as the founder and manager at El Mezcal Mexican Restaurant. Her experience there allowed Raddila to learn about the community, so when she opened Don Mario’s she was in a familiar place.
However, not long after they opened their doors, Don Mario started to see the brunt of the pandemic.
After four months in operation, Raddila said they lost two career servers and a few other young workers for various reasons, including needing a more stable income with no definitive end to restaurant restrictions in sight.
She found herself having to step up and man several positions around the restaurant, in the kitchen and in cleaning duties.
Business slowly began to pick up as restrictions were lifted and by the time Friday After 5 season rolled around, Don Mario was a popular spot to be — all the tables that surround the restaurant were filled with people enjoying the food and company.
As they approach two years, Don Mario workers are proud to be able to provide the mission Raddila set out when opening — to provide authentic Mexican food in a more populated area of town.