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LA’s ‘Oaxacan Princess’ Brings Mezcals, Tequilas to the Strip in July

Bricia Lopez opens Mama Rabbit this summer

Bricia Lopez, called the “Oaxacan Princess” by the late Jonathan Gold of The Los Angeles Times, dips into the Las Vegas Strip when she opens Mama Rabbit at Park MGM in late July. Lopez and her family own Guelaguetza, one of the first Oaxacan restaurants in Los Angeles and a James Beard Foundation classics winner in 2015.

The 4,400-square-foot Mama Rabbit sits next to Roy Choi’s Best Friend, serving a menu of tequilas, mezcals, and craft cocktails along with a menu of six items including molé, tacos, and vegetable dishes. Lopez tells The Hollywood Reporter that Mama Rabbit takes its name from “Mayahuel, the goddess of agave and fertility, who was the mother of 400 rabbits that she nourished with mezcal and tequila.”

The space features three rooms with a double-sided bar, a fireplace, live performances, and a walk-up bar. Lopez says decor for the space includes Oaxacan artifacts and odes to agave.

Her parents Fernando Lopez and Maria Monterrubio opened Guelaguetza in 1994 with little money. By 2011, they opened an all-day mezcal lounge. Bricia and her siblings Fernando Jr. and Paulina now oversee the restaurant. Guelaguetza, Spanish for los lunes del cerro (Mondays on the Hill), is an annual indigenous cultural event in Mexico that takes place in the city of Oaxaca.

Eater LA notes “Guelaguetza was the most prominent Oaxacan restaurant in Los Angeles” for years. Specialties include massive pizza-like tlayudas, crunchy grasshopper tacos (chapulines), and molé. “It’s the only authentic Oaxacan restaurant in the U.S. modeled after the greats in Oaxaca City like La Teca, La Biznaga, and Los Danzantes,” writer Bill Esparza says.

Mama Rabbit joins Richard Blais’ Crack Shack opening at the resort in July.