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Now Open: Emiliano’s Brings Authentic Mexican Food to Cranberry

The restaurant will hold an official grand opening in June.

When owner Benny Ulloa says his new Emiliano’s restaurant in Cranberry features authentic Mexican, he means it from the food all the way to the décor.

“We wanted to make people completely forget about what was here before,” he said.

Located in the former CiCi’s Pizza in the Cranberry mall off Freedom Road, Emiliano’s held its soft opening Monday. The restaurant will hold a larger grand opening June 11, Ulloa said.

On the eatery’s menu are a variety of homemade Mexican dishes, including appetizers, fajitas, quesadillas, vegetarian options and much more.

Ulloa, who named the restaurant after his 6-year-old son, said his personal recommendations are the Taco Stand street tacos and the California Burrito, a large flour tortilla filled with rice, black beans, sour cream, cheese and a protein.

“That’s a grand slam,” he said.

There also are a variety of margaritas, mojitos, beer (including craft beer and selections from Mexico) and sangria, as well as daily drink specials.  

“We have very strong happy hour specials,” Ulloa said.

On the walls are unique artifacts made in Mexico. In the center of the restaurant is a working water fountain, which Ulloa said he added to give patrons the feeling of being in a relaxing courtyard.

Other new additions to the restaurant include an expansive bar, again made in Mexico, with several flat screen televisions for sports viewing. Ulloa said the bar’s stone wall and the decorative lighting were thoughtfully chosen to give the restaurant the right ambiance.

Some of Emiliano’s other decorative accents include tiled tables and a long wall of plants separating the bar from the restaurant.

Ulloa, who was born in Mexico City and grew up in North Carolina, said construction on the carefully planned out 5,000 square foot restaurant took about three months. 

“We’re going to be here for the long run,” he said. “We wanted to make sure everything was done right.”

Ulloa, who also owns Emiliano’s restaurants on East Carson Street in the South Side and on William Flynn Highway in Richland Township (he recently closed a location in McIntyre Square in McCandless), said he was inspired to open an Emiliano’s in Cranberry because of the demographics—and a lack of authentic Mexican restaurants in the area.

“We’re very happy to be in Cranberry,” he said. “I think the community will be very happy with us being here too.”

Have you dined at the new Emiliano’s restaurant yet? Tell us in the comment section below.

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Deb Ramage May 17, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Yummmm.....hope he makes it. Sounds yummy & beautiful. I'll have to try it soon.
JohnnyMott May 17, 2013 at 04:43 PM
I do enjoy American style Mexican, but to call it "Authentic Mexican" is a complete farce. The people of a town like oaxaca would be truly upset to think that this cuisine is what Americans believe to be authentic.
Mary Whalen May 17, 2013 at 10:44 PM
I am so excited to have Emiliano's here! We used to drive over to route 8 or southside just to get it!
Jessica Repp May 18, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Looks beautiful from the photos, can't wait to check it out!!

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