Restaurant offers a little piece of Mexico right here in Wigan
Food lovers are travelling from miles around to tuck into the delicious dishes on offer at a Mexican restaurant in Wigan.
Chapos El Campeón opened in a small shop next to a car wash in Scholes two years ago, but owner Gaz Williamson said it outgrew the site quickly.
He found a new base on Garswood Street in Ashton, but it was only in May that the restaurant was able to fully open due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And since then, visitors have been flocking to tuck into his tasty creations.
Gaz, who lives in Pemberton, said: “We sell out every weekend. It has been a big hit. Only last week we had five lads from Scotland drive down and on the same day, a lad from Newcastle came down with two friends from Liverpool. The name is getting out there.”
The restaurant was originally called El Campeón - the Spanish word for “champion” and inspired by Gaz’s 11-year-old son Cameron.
He added “Chapos” to the title after the popularity of Netflix series El Chapo, about a notorious Mexican drug lord.
The Mexican-inspired restaurant offers a range of dishes, including tapas, steaks, loaded fries and gourmet burgers, as well as cocktails and beers.
During the week, there is a relaxed vibe with Mexican music played in the background, while the venue comes to life at weekends with a DJ or live entertainment, such as a saxophonist or fire-breathing flamenco dancers.
The walls are adorned with designs including a vintage car, Our Lady holding the Mexican flag and fun images of cartoon skeletons drinking in a light-hearted homage to the country’s famous Day of the Dead festival.
They were done by Ashton artist Scott Wilcock, who works as Snow Graffiti producing airbrushed murals as well as snow art in windows in winter.
Gaz said: “At least once a week someone will say to me they feel like they are on holiday. They don’t feel like they are in Wigan.”
Gaz runs the restaurant, with six people working in the kitchen and three front-of-house staff.
He trained as a chef after leaving school, but then went to work in the building trade and has used skills from both careers to open his business.
He said: “I have built the restaurant from my own hands. I have designed it and done it all myself. During lockdown, we operated as a takeaway so I was doing the refurbishment in the day and then getting washed and changed to open it at night.”
While it is only a few months since the restaurant opened in its new location, Gaz is already looking to the future and hopes he can grow the business.
This week he is putting the final touches to the restaurant’s new website, which will be launched shortly.
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