Antiguo Lobo – a Mexican restaurant and tequila bar from restaurateur Jesús Oñate Jr. – is coming soon to downtown Chamblee (5370 Peachtree Road). Honoring Oñate Jr.’s father, the late Jesús Oñate Sr., the new restaurant will offer a creative menu of authentic multi-regional Mexican fare alongside an agave-based beverage program for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
Meaning “old wolf” in Spanish, Antiguo Lobo will pay homage to Jesús Oñate Jr.’s father, Jesús Oñate Sr. A beloved restaurateur credited with opening one of the first authentic Mexican restaurants in Georgia, Oñate Sr. came to the United States from his hometown Jose de La Paz – a small village in the state of Jalisco in Mexico – in 1971. He started his Atlanta restaurant career by opening his first restaurant in Chamblee, eventually owning five Monterrey restaurants, one El Sombrero, The Lazy Donkey and eight El Ranchero restaurants throughout Georgia before he passed in 2018. Jesús Jr. grew up in his family’s restaurants and was given the responsibility of his first restaurant, Monterrey #2 in Smyrna, when he was 20.
“My family’s roots in Mexican restaurants in Georgia date back to the ‘70s, when my father first moved here from the western Mexican state of Jalisco,” says Jesús Jr. “I’m honored to carry on my father’s legacy with this new restaurant, which is a homecoming of sorts as my father opened his first restaurant in the U.S. in Chamblee.”
The menu will blend Mexican cuisine inspired by the food Jesus Jr. grew up eating with dishes he discovered throughout years visiting and eating in the country. The team will source locally wherever possible, lending a Southeastern twist. The restaurant’s signature dish, “Molcajete El Monstruo,” will be served in a volcanic rock mortar (‘molcajete’ in Spanish) and feature a choice of steak, grilled chicken or shrimp; green onion; grilled queso fresco; tomato; nopal cactus; tomatillo cream salsa; rice and beans. Other standouts from the menu include Enchiladas Verdes – tinga, tomatillo cream, rice, refried black beans, crema, cotija and Pollo al mole – mole poblano, rice, refried black beans, toasted sesame seeds, cotija. An array of small plates, ensaladas (salads), sopas (soups), “Old South Tex-Mex” items like Nachos and Burritos and assorted street tacos served on house-made corn tortillas round out the food menu.
A well-trained tequila expert and certified Master Mezcalier, Jesús Jr. has put together an extensive and unique beverage program for the restaurant. Antiguo Lobo will offer a wide list of agave-based spirits and specialty cocktails made using in-house creations like infused tequila and mezcal. Guests can expect to sip on a variety of house-made margaritas, which will highlight fresh juices and agave nectars.
Set in a building that was formerly a vintage antique store, the restaurant’s design will mirror the Mexican restaurants where Jesús Jr. grew up working, in further tribute to his family’s history and deep roots in the community. The moody interior will feature a black distressed tin ceiling, exposed brick walls and concrete floors. An expansive mural dedicated to Jesús Sr. will depict images reflective of his life, including a 1977 Pontiac Can-Am, the first car Jesús Sr. was able to purchase when he came to the United States. Old-school booths, sarape accents and a vintage bar will drive home the throwback aesthetic while incorporating Jesús Jr.’s contemporary touches throughout. The 1,265 square foot dining room and bar will seat approximately 60 people at full capacity, and a large patio will be available in front of the building for open-air dining.