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Lupazo Mexican Grill opens in Worthington

Humberto (left) and Oscar Piceno stand outside Lupazo's Mexican Grill. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / The Globe)1 / 3
Humberto (left) and Oscar Piceno stand inside Lupazo's Mexican Grill. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / The Globe)2 / 3
(Karl Evers-Hillstrom / The Globe)3 / 3

WORTHINGTON — Humberto and Oscar Piceno, the father-son combination that long ran Tacos Lupe, officially opened their new restaurant this week.

Lupazo Mexican Grill will feature the same menu, employees and traditional Mexican food as Tacos Lupe, but at a new 10th Street location and with a full-time, fully-equipped bar.

“It’s going to be a game changer for us,” Oscar said of the restaurant’s liquor offerings. “We’re still keeping it family oriented, but we definitely wanted to add a bit more spice to it.”

The Picenos had been looking for a new location for a while. They got their opportunity after El Mexicano restaurant closed just before the new year, and owner Efrain Patino later agreed to lease the space out.

“We’re moving to a much better location, we think,” Oscar said. “It will work a lot better for what we want to do.”

The duo brought their entire staff with them and will hire a few additional workers to work at the bar. Inside the restaurant, the looks are unchanged as well, though the Picenos spent many hours cleaning and polishing the venue before the first customers rolled in.

“Keeping up with cleanliness, sanitation — we’re very big on that,” Oscar said. “We run a pretty tight ship, because quality is what matters, that can’t ever degrade in any way.”

Oscar and Humberto “do everything” for the restaurant, including cooking, serving and managing employees.

Humberto developed his culinary skills during 15 years at a Los Angeles, Calif. Taqueria. He and his family moved to Worthington about 14 years ago and opened Tacos Lupe in 2007. His recipes have always been well-received, Oscar said.

“We’ve been doing it for a decade now, so if it’s not broken, why fix it?” Oscar said. “We may introduce more items on the menu once we get a little more established here and get a feel of the flow that’s coming through.”

The name of the new restaurant is similar, too. Humberto is known as “Lupe,” so “Lupazo” is a natural extension of that nickname, Oscar said.

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11 to midnight on Friday and Saturday.