The Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino in Arizona is about to add some spice and, possibly, a few laughs to its menu. The Phoenix-area venue is adding a new restaurant, which is owned by comedian George Lopez and promises to serve age-old family recipes that will please any palate.
The new Chingon Kitchen at Vee Quiva is the second restaurant Lopez has opened—the first is at the San Manuel Casino in Highland, California. He asserts that all the dishes come from his grandmother’s recipes, explaining, “My grandmother made food by heart. She never wrote anything down. Her food was very heart warming and very loving.”
The fast-casual eatery opens its doors tomorrow just in time for the Cinco de Mayo (May 5) celebration weekend. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. local time and attendees can expect to see Lopez on hand all weekend, along with his iconic 1951 Chevy.
Chingon is a word best described by Lopez. He states, “It can be ‘awesome,’ it can be ‘magnificent,’ it can be a punctuation. If someone calls you ‘chingon,’ take it as a compliment that you are at the top of your game.”
The new restaurant has a total area of 5,120 square feet and can seat around 140 guests. It is decorated using traditional elements of the Mexican and Chicano heritages, including Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) skulls and lucha libre (wrestling) masks. It also has hand-painted graffiti murals and Chicano art that was chosen by Lopez himself.
By launching the eateries in casinos, Lopez feels he is filling a much-needed gap. Offering food that can be served quickly, but which is still made from scratch daily, allows casino patrons to have better, tastier options and allows them to enjoy quality food without having to wait for long periods of time. Typically, the meals can be delivered within 12 minutes.
Lopez is a regular fixture at the venues, wanting to make sure everything is running smoothly. The fact that they’re located in casinos is an added benefit, with the comedian indicating a preference for slot machines. He explains, “I play Wheel of Fortune and there’s a MacGyver one that I thought was interesting, where you’re trying to help a guy by using a wrench. Anything with a screwdriver and a wrench… you’ve got me.”