I’ll bet it’s happened to you: you find a new local Mexican place that you like. Decent food, a festive atmosphere, and a name like Rio Ranchito or Casa Amigos or Grande Cinco Ocho. You come back a few weeks later and the name’s already changed. Now it’s Salsa de Jouro or Nacho Piñata or El Camino Carberaturo. Mexican places seem to change hands in this town so often that you can’t get the same meal twice. Montoya’s is the exception. They’ve been around 25 years, not 25 minutes. Bengal great Max Montoya lent his name to this place—opened by a friend before Mexican restaurants were vogue and then vague. Montoya’s Mexican Restaurant proudly calls its food homemade. It’s been consistent all these years, as well as consistently inexpensive. So many Mexican places are monstrosities that once housed a Bonanza Steakhouse; Montoya’s is actually cozy and hidden in a tiny strip mall off the main drag. It’s unpretentious and seemingly not interested in success, which means success has never gone to their head here. At a place where you can get Huracan Fajitas with steak, chicken, and chorizo or Tilapia Asada, the tacos are still a big item. My theory is that people love the gourmet choices so they can turn them down and get the same old thing. Admittedly, I’m one of them. I go for the plain old bean burrito and their wonderful rice. At Montoya’s you can get the same meal twice, even 20 years later.
Montoya’s Mexican Restaurant
2507 Chelsea Dr., Ft. Mitchell,
Lunch and dinner Tues-Sun