Don Gallo coming to Choto area

The community surrounding The Markets at Choto will have a Don Gallo restaurant when the restaurant opens at 1600 Choto Markets Way.

“[The scheduled opening] looks like the end of October,” John Payne, Don Gallo Mexican Grills business manager, said.

The opening will be Don Gallo’s fourth location. While it also has sites in Hardin Valley, off East Emory Road and Casa Don Gallo Mexican Cuisine off Northshore Drive near Bearden,

Don Gallo Mexican Grills is owned by the Zendejas family and not a franchise.

Payne said the Markets at Choto development was chosen as a site for Don Gallo because demographics supported a neighborhood restaurant.

“I know the area and I have watched the growth [in the Choto community],” he said. ”We were looking for something different. I ran into John Huber and felt this location was right.”

“We’re excited about Don Gallo’s coming into the Choto area,” Huber, owner and developer of The Markets at Choto, said. Don Gallo broke ground on construction in May.

“I’ve been approached by 20 to 25 restaurant owners,” Huber said. “We have been selective with who we are bringing in. Don Gallo is a first-class restaurant operation.

“I found that Don Gallo is concerned about the freshness of its food. [The owners’] goal is to be a neighborhood bar and grill. They want to service the people of Choto.”

“Turkey Creek is loaded with tons of restaurants,” Payne said. “While we can compete, by going to [the Choto] community, I feel we can adapt to what the neighborhood wants.

“We have kept the menus of Hardin Valley and Emery Road, but we will adapt [the menu] to that community.

“We are upper scale, not in price but in food quality and freshness,” he said. “The price range is suitable for that neighborhood.

“We excel with the best margaritas in town and a full-service bar. The meat is the highest quality and the recipes were brought by the owners from their native Mexico.”

While the restaurant does have televisions, Payne said, “We don’t consider ourselves a sports bar.

“We are not a normal Mexican restaurant; we are a neighborhood restaurant. We have a big family business.

“Our customers live in short radius — five miles,” he said. “Their children play soccer, they go to church there and they come in [to Don Gallo] as a family after the games and church.

“These days, the people like to be close to their community, For our level of food, our customers come sometimes two to three times a week, whether its lunch or dinner.

“People walk in and know each other, they make themselves at home and we know their names,” he said. “They love the patio, the Mexican atmosphere. That’s big in our restaurant.”

Another advantage of the location is the restaurant can accommodate area boaters, he said.

“We have a strong catering business. That will be a huge part of our success, catering to boaters and families. We get a lot of that.”