Camacho's Cantina closed today after more than 20 years serving Mexican favorites at CityWalk Hollywood. It's the latest change for the original theme park shopping district, as Universal Studios Hollywood continues its march toward 10 million annual visitors.
The restaurant closed suddenly, posting the news to its Facebook page and website:
Thank you for being so integral to our longevity over the years, beginning when Universal CityWalk first opened to the public. Camacho's, as it has been affectionately known to many, has been the location for a multitude of memorable events such as birthdays, Quinceañeras, first dates, wedding proposals and anniversaries. We are honored that you chose Camacho's. Also, thank you to the many visitors to Universal Studios who have enjoyed the restaurant for so many years. It has been a pleasure to introduce guests from around the world to our authentic Mexican food.
The closure raises the question of what will replace it. Given that Universal has brought CityWalk Orlando restaurants Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and Vivo Italian Kitchen to Hollywood in recent months, I wouldn't bet against Universal bringing its Antojitos concept to Hollywood in Camacho's place.
Other Universal-owned Orlando restaurants currently missing in Hollywood include the NBC Sports Grill & Brew and Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen, but it's hard to imagine Universal not having a Mexican restaurant in LA, pointing to Antojitos as a more likely replacement. Toothsome wouldn't fit in the space, and Universal isn't about to put NBC Sports Grill next to a Karl Strauss (though if that restaurant closes next, all bets are off). And, of course, Universal could bring in another outside partner, as the ridiculously high foot traffic in CityWalk makes it an alluring location for restaurateurs.
The Camacho's shutdown follows the closing of the Saddle Ranch Chop House earlier this year, which Universal now has demolished. The original "Evolution" plans for the property called for a hotel to be built on that space, but Universal has not yet announced any plans for that area.
Vivo Italian Kitchen opened to the public last month in advance of an official grand opening media event in October, replacing the Wolfgang Puck Bistro, which closed earlier this year. Margaritaville and Voodoo Doughnut opened in Hollywood last year, with Voodoo opening in Orlando last spring, as Universal continues to align its CityWalks.
What would you like to see come next to CityWalk?
Update: Courtesy our friend Rick West (of Midsummer Scream), it's Antojitos.
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