Suntree-Viera gains one Mexican restaurant, loses another


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El Leoncito Mexican & Cuban Restaurant is under construction at 5360 Stadium Parkway in the Stadium Corners shopping center.

Viera Voice Mike Gaffey

A new Mexican restaurant is coming to the Suntree-Viera area, while another has closed.

Construction has begun on El Leoncito Mexican & Cuban Restaurant at 5360 Stadium Parkway in the Stadium Corners shopping center.

Owned by Michael Sanchez, the Viera location is the second El Leoncito in Brevard County and the Sanchez family’s third Mexican restaurant on the Space Coast. The popular El Leoncito opened with an added Cuban menu in 1995 at 4280 S. Washington Ave. in Titusville after Sanchez’s parents, Miguel and Bertha, relocated to Brevard from Whittier, Calif., where they had operated the original El Leoncito since 1977.

The Sanchez family also operates Chaparral Mexican Grill at 1341 N. Cocoa Blvd. in Cocoa.

“We will have the same great menu, friendly staff and of course world-famous margarita” at the Viera restaurant, according to El Leoncito’s Facebook page.

El Leoncito’s menu offers authentic Mexican fare, featuring such appetizers as quesadillas and stuffed jalapenos, as well as salads, soups and main courses that include combination plates, the wet burrito plate and steak, seafood and vegetarian specialties. Cuban dishes include ropa vieja and bistec de pollo. For dessert, there’s fried ice cream, flan and churros, among other choices.

In Suntree, California Tortilla closed suddenly in January, less than six months after it opened at 6375 N. Wickham Rd. in the Pineda Landings plaza. The 2,700-square-foot fast-casual franchise, the second in Florida, had offered free tortillas for a year to the first 10 people in line when it opened July 12.

The state’s first California Tortilla, located in Kissimmee, apparently also has closed. Neither the Suntree nor the Kissimmee locations were featured on a map of California Tortilla restaurants at the Maryland-based company’s website, and no one answered the phone during business hours at either location.

Both are owned by Lakeland resident Dale Warden, who was unavailable for comment at press time.