Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock

Javi’s Cantina ‘Where Flavor Meets Harmony’

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Music, good food and cold drinks!  What a great way to spend a Wednesday evening in paradise.  Marla Bainbridge Martinez and Javier Martinez recently held their grand opening event for Javi’s Cantina & Tapas Bar located in centro on Juarez near Abasolo Avenue. 

Cool new sign

Their eatery actually commenced operation in July of this year, but they wanted to ensure they had everything organized and ticking along perfectly before the grand opening.  The several times we have eaten at Javi’s, we have had a beautifully presented and tasty meal.  Practice does make perfect.

Lawrie’s favourite – Sliders
The grand opening started off with a blessing from the priest, and continued into the evening with fun, laughter and music.  Until the flashy new sign was installed the cantina was a bit difficult to find.  In case you are still having challenges, it is almost directly across the street from Jeri Roozeboom Mattox and Steve Mattox’s rental property La Vida Dulce, and the Farmacia y Consultorio Similares otherwise known as Doctor Simi.

Spilling out onto the street – Grand Opening
Javi’s Cantina is an intimate and thankfully air-conditioned space, usually holding about thirty patrons, but for this evening they had permission to block off the street and spill out onto the cobblestone roadway.  It’s an island custom for important events, especially funerals when the large extended families can’t all fit inside the diminutive houses.  Javi’s family has been on the island for generations which probably helped in obtaining a street closure permit.  We are glad he did, the large turnout created a festive atmosphere with an entertaining mix of old friends, and new acquaintances all laughing and enjoying the warm tropical night.  And yes, our shivering northern friends, it was a warm tropical night in the middle of November.
Marla singing with the band
The street tables were available for patrons who wanted to drink adult beverages and enjoy the music of La Banda Sin Nombre, the Band with No Name.  The inside tables were reservations-only for folks who wanted to scarf down some great chow like Sliders, or Kabobs, or the Catch of the Day with their drinks.
Some of the menu choices
Most evenings at Javi’s Cantina there are musicians playing great tunes in Spanish and English. Tuesday night’s Hammock for 2 with Marla and Javi singing their favourite songs. Wednesday night Jorge Santoyo. Thursday night Willy Chacon.  Other nights might feature Javi and his dad Toso, or any combination of friends and fellow musicians. 
Grand opening

For the Grand Opening we had made plans to enjoy the festivities with two island friends, and then discovered two more amigos were going to be seated next to us, so we pushed the tables together and became one big happy group. 

It’s times like this that we really appreciate island life, small communities, and upbeat positive chums.

Best wishes for a successful adventure Marla and Javi.


Lynda & Lawrie

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