By Ryan Wynne
El Amigo Family Mexican Restaurant is a fitting name for Bellingham’s newest Mexican restaurant, which is located in the 2,700 square-foot space at 3040 Northwest Ave., across from Yeager’s Sporting Goods.
Of the restaurant’s 11 employees, seven are related.
“There’s a lot of family here,” said manager and co-owner Natalia Lopez.
Natalia’s husband is a cook there, and her brother-in-law’s wife and son work in the restaurant, too. Natalia shares ownership with her brother-in-law, Fernando Lopez, who owns a majority of the business. Natalia said Fernando approached her with the idea of opening El Amigo with the severance pay he received from Icicle Seafoods, which laid him off after Trident Seafoods bought the business in early August.
El Amigo may have just opened Nov. 2, but neither the space nor Natalia are new to the restaurant industry. The space has been home to at least two other restaurants in recent history: Cinco de Mayo and Gloria’s. When it was Gloria’s, Natalia worked there. She also had her own restaurant, Pueblo, on Telegraph Road for five years, and before committing to El Amigo, she worked at El Gitano Mexican Restaurant.
She and her husband also owned a restaurant in North Dakota, “but we did not like the winters,” she said.
El Amigo is open Sunday though Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit www.elamigobellingham.com or call (360) 733-3116.