Enter the ring that is Maskaras Mexican Grill in Dallas and find home-made dishes and remnants of lucha libre, or professional wrestling, icons like El Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Máscaras, El Rayo de Jalisco, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara.
Masks and memorabilia of these famous Mexican wrestlers fill the restaurant and connect visitors to a part of Mexican culture that owner, Rodolfo Jimenez, said links back to his childhood.
Jimenez grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. When he was 8 years old, his older brother took him to a wrestling match in his hometown where one of the wrestlers gave Jimenez his mask. Jimenez’s collection grew from there.
“Lucha libre is the heritage of the Mexican culture to the world,” Jimenez, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife Zulma Hernandez, said. “Every mask [in the restaurant] tells you a story.”
Maskaras Mexican Grill functions as a museum because of the value of each mask in the restaurant. Some masks date decades in the past, such as one from the world-famous Mexican wrestler El Santo, which dates to the 1930’s.
When visitors enter the restaurant for the first time, their facial expressions say it all. Customers often take pictures and ask questions. They end up with a curiosity about how wrestling is a part of the Mexican culture, Jimenez said.
People often ask to buy the masks, but they are not for sale because of their historic value.
Mexican customers tell Jimenez that the masks take them back to their childhood. In addition, they tell Jimenez that the restaurant’s food reminds them of their mothers’ cooking.
If you crave Tex-Mex cuisine, this is not the place for you. The grill prides itself on staying true to the authentic flavors and dishes of Mexico as well as using locally-grown ingredients.
The restaurant offers lunch, dinner, drinks and dishes like the fried whole fish or the spicy shrimp burrito, which connects Dallas locals to the true tastes of Mexico.