Restaurants

Cinco de Mayo crowds overwhelm local Mexican restaurants

Long lines formed and a sheriff’s deputy was called to at least one location.

Cinco de Mayo turned out to be Cinco de Madness at many area Mexican restaurants. Location after location saw big crowds gathering — and many not social distancing — as they tried to pick up the food they ordered. It got so crazy, a sheriff’s deputy was called to one location in Ashburn, to try and get hungry customers to disperse.

A number of Mexican restaurants in the area reportedly closed early because of too many orders and not enough staff members to fill them all.

By early evening Tuesday, Parrando’s Tex Mex Grill in Ashburn had a reported 100-200 people waiting outside its doors. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office confirms they got a call about overcrowding in the parking lot there and sent a deputy. The deputy advised Parrando’s managers about the current rules for restaurants and the people gathered were asked to return to their cars to wait for their food.

Photos (here and at top): Lisa McGrail

“We were just giving our phone number (at Parrando’s) … when the sheriff came out with what I assume is the manager,” Lisa McGrail told The Burn. “She said that they were understaffed, and that we needed to social distance. (The deputy) suggested that people go wait in their cars. There was one guy who ran across and got a six pack of Coronas from Walgreens to distribute. Then he went to get another one.”

Folks, it’s the wild west out there.

Parrando’s later notified the Sheriff’s Office that they had voluntarily closed for the evening.

People waiting outside Uncle Julio’s.

Similar scenes were repeated across eastern Loudoun. Photos and posts on social media report long lines and crowded parking lots or big delays in getting orders at Uncle Julio’s in One Loudoun, Plaza Azteca in Leesburg, Chuy’s in Sterling and Los Toltecos in the Broadlands.

The crowd outside Los Toltecos

“(Los Toltecos) was packed. Half weren’t wearing masks and you couldn’t talk to any employees to see what was up,” said Lindsay Pualoa. Her family gave up trying to get their order and ended up making pizza after even Taco Bell had a long line.

The chaos may be the result of a perfect storm. Many restaurants — Mexican and otherwise — are working with fewer employees due to the pandemic restrictions on restaurants right now. On a normal night of take-out and delivery, the reduced staff can handle it, but when there’s a surge like the one seen Tuesday night, it overwhelmed a good number of local establishments.

 

 

 

 

5 Comments
  1. maciej koroscik 3 years ago
    Reply

    your article is a bit skewed…I was at Parrando’s at 5pm and waiting till 6 at which point I gave up and came home. I pre-ordered a $100 worth of food at 10am for a 5pm pickup. This was not a case of hoards of hungry Ashburn-ers demanding Mexican food and ignoring social distancing rules to get it. This was a case of restaurants such as Parrando’s taking way too many orders and when people arrived at their scheduled times, not having a process in place. During my time there, about 1-2 orders came from the kitchen every 15+ min. The two ladies working called out the names that most people couldn’t hear. As more people arrived they all asked what should i do, “is there a check-in?”, there wasn’t so people just kept crowding in hoping to hear their name called, for over an hour. There was no line, not “thank you, please wait and I’ll text you when your order is ready”, nothing. it was a complete disaster and it wasn’t the fault of the people who came at their scheduled time to pick up food.
    The restaurants could have taken a limited amount of orders like many others have done during this pandemic because they were understaffed, but instead, they took every order that came in over the phone or online (like mine). My order number 33. I heard numbers in the 200s being called.

  2. maciej koroscik 3 years ago
    Reply

    your article is a bit skewed…I was at Parrando’s at 5pm and waiting till 6 at which point I gave up and came home. I pre-ordered a $100 worth of food at 10am for a 5pm pickup. This was not a case of hoards of hungry Ashburn-ers demanding Mexican food and ignoring social distancing rules to get it. This was a case of restaurants such as Parrando’s taking way too many orders and when people arrived at their scheduled times, not having a process in place. During my time there, about 1-2 orders came from the kitchen every 15+ min. The two ladies working called out the names that most people couldn’t hear. As more people arrived they all asked what should i do, “is there a check-in?”, there wasn’t so people just kept crowding in hoping to hear their name called, for over an hour. There was no line, not “thank you, please wait and I’ll text you when your order is ready”, nothing. it was a complete disaster and it wasn’t the fault of the people who came at their scheduled time to pick up food.
    The restaurants could have taken a limited amount of orders like many others have done during this pandemic because they were understaffed, but instead, they took every order that came in over the phone or online (like mine). My order number 33. I heard numbers in the 200s being called.

  3. Brett 3 years ago
    Reply

    It was the same madness down here in Williamsburg. All Mexican restaurants crazy busy, hard to get through over the phone so people thought it would be better to just go to the restaurant to order…2+ hours waits in some places to get food.

  4. Alex 3 years ago
    Reply

    Same thing happened at Moe’s in South Riding. What made it worse was Los Toltecos having the same issue a few doors down. Moe’s allowed walk-in customers to go in and order from the counter, get their food and leave. This took the employees away from preparing the pre-paid online take out orders and pre-paid curbside delivery orders. We waited over an hour for curbside delivery order, that we had ordered several hours prior, and ended up leaving with no food. Hindsight is 20/20. They should have prioritized the pre-paid online orders and not allowed walk ups.

  5. Nicole Feathers 3 years ago
    Reply

    Seeems like “certain” folks just need to learn how to cook some Mexican food.

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