November 2006

May 5th - A Restaurant Worth Celebrating

Author: Melinda Copp

On October 5th the island’s newest Mexican restaurant, May 5th celebrated their six-month anniversary Cinco de Mayo-style. A band set up on the deck outside and people mingled over margaritas around the bar. The mood was casual and festive, and the place was packed. Everyone had come to support the owners and celebrate the success of this authentic Mexican eatery.

“I came to Hilton Head 11 years ago and there were no real Mexican restaurants,” said Cuper Vargas, co-owner of May 5th. “I wanted to bring something real to the island.” Cuper and his brother Fabian, who own and operate May 5th together, are originally from San Luis Potosi.

The Vargas brothers have accomplished exactly what they set out to do. May 5th, which is located in the Sappelo Building on Office Park Road, is a completely unique dining experience with a menu that is unmatched by any other Mexican restaurant in the area.

“People are usually surprised, even a little scared by our menu,” said Cuper. But that’s just because it doesn’t look like every other Mexican restaurant’s menu. There’s more to May 5th than burritos, fajitas, quesadillas and tacos. But that doesn’t mean diners don’t leave with their Mexican craving left unsatisfied.

“When people finish their food, they are very happy,” said Cuper. “They haven’t been to a restaurant like this ever before.” The May 5th menu has everything from fresh tacos with handmade tortillas to a great New York Strip steak.

The Arrachera is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. However, it comes with special eating instructions, explained Cuper. This entrée includes a strip steak topped with a mushroom and cheese stuffed grilled poblano pepper. The steak is served with frijoles charro, or cowboy-style bean soup, and tortillas that are made in house.

“Most people eat each item separately. They take a bite of the pepper and then a bite of the steak,” he said. “But you’re supposed to cut everything up, wrap it in the tortilla and eat it with the soup. It’s like a Mexican version of grilled cheese with tomato soup.”

The pulpo encebollardo is one of their popular appetizers. This dish is octopus sautéed with olive oil, onions and jalapeno peppers served with homemade warm soft tortillas. Other entrees include shrimp and steak skewers, Mexican-style stuffed meatballs, tilapia steamed with pastilla pepper sauce and pork marinated with habanero pepper sauce and orange topped with onions. And that’s just to name a few. Their menu also includes several salads, and ceviche, shrimp, fish taco, oyster and other appetizer dishes. But May 5th hasn’t left out the favorites, like fajitas made with a choice of chicken or beef and grilled, marinated chicken served with rice and beans.

May 5th has a full bar with wine selections from Argentina, Chile and Spain. And when the weather is hospitable, customers can dine outside on the deck.

The Vargas’s seem to truly enjoy the restaurant business. Even though they were both busy the night of their six-month celebration, stocking the free food buffet and serving drinks, they still made time to say hello to their friends and guests. “I really like talking to different people, and I really like seeing people eating and enjoying themselves,” said Cuper.

Cinco de Mayo or not, May 5th truly allows their customers to celebrate every day.

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