The first Mexican restaurant in downtown Columbus has opened, providing an eye-popping change in cuisine, decor and dining style for guests.

Luciana’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina debuted Monday, becoming the fourth restaurant to operate at 310 Washington St. since The Commons opened in 2011.

Owners Sarah and Alberto Bravo envision Luciana’s — named after the couple’s young daughter — becoming a gathering place for families in the anchor restaurant position inside The Commons.

“We love families coming together and eating good food and spending time together,” Sarah Bravo said.

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After a significant interior makeover, Luciana’s has become a colorful and vibrant replacement for the dark wood and muted decor of Jordy McTaggart’s, the grill and Irish pub that closed in January after operating for about three years. The first two tenants at 310 Washington St. served American fare, especially burgers.

Visitors who step inside Luciana’s will immediately notice the bright hues of lime green, red and light blue, accompanied by helix lights in red, white and blue.

The lighting was an effort to incorporate something new and different, Albert Bravo said.

“So far, the feedback has been positive,” Sarah Bravo said Tuesday, the restaurant’s second day of operation, when about 30 people stopped in during the noon lunch rush.

Jena Peck of Columbus tried the golden enchilada dish and praised the restaurant’s service and food.

The restaurant also made a good first impression on Marilyn Trotta, also of Columbus, who described Luciana’s Mexican fare as authentic.

Fellow Columbus resident Kelley Morgan said she had been tracking progress of the restaurant, but didn’t realize it had opened until driving by on Tuesday, prompting a visit.

Maripat and Tim Berry, who have homes in Indianapolis and Columbus, have already dined at Luciana’s in Indianapolis, where the Bravos operate restaurants in Broad Ripple and on 82nd Street near Keystone at the Crossing.

“It’s a great family-run establishment,” Maripat Berry said. “We think their food is just excellent.”

In the Indianapolis locations, Luciana’s has become known for its homemade chicken soup, which has rice, avocado, pico and cheese, and comes with a side of tortilla chips, Alberto Bravo said.

“Going into fall, everyone’s going to have to try that,” Sarah Bravo said.

The Arroz con Pollo dish — grilled chicken and rice covered in queso and served with flour or corn tortillas — has been the most popular menu item among Luciana’s customers, Alberto Bravo said.

The bar area, which is separated from the rest of the restaurant, features 16 beers, one sangria and several different types of homemade margaritas.

The Bravos, who have invested $250,000 to $300,000 to renovate the space and add new equipment, concluded that Columbus was a good fit as they looked to grow their restaurant brand, hiring 30 people to open the downtown restaurant.

Erin Hawkins, marketing director for the Columbus Area Visitors Center, said she thinks Luciana’s will be good for the area.

“They can do high-quality service in a short amount of time, and I think that’s what downtown needs,” Hawkins said.

Luciana's Mexican Restaurant and Cantina

Location: 310 Washington St., inside The Commons

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Prices: Lunch specials are offered daily, with most items ranging from $5 to $9 and dinner items up to about $14.

More information: visit lucianasmexicanrestaurant.com.

310 Washington St. restaurant history

The fourth restaurant to operate at 310 Washington St. inside The Commons has opened since the new facility was completed in 2011.

  • Scotty’s Burger Joint opened in November 2011 and operated until December 2012.
  • Detour American Grille & Bar opened in January 2013, but closed a few months later in March of that year.
  • Jordy McTaggart’s Grill & Pub opened in May 2014, purchased by new owners in January 2015. Behind on rent, utility and property-tax payments to the city, it closed in January 2017.
  • Alberto and Sarah Bravo of Indianapolis took over the Jordy’s lease and on Monday opened their third Luciana’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina inside The Commons.
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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com