The Roanoker - September/October 2020 - 110

SHARI DRAGOVICH is a freelance writer whose work appears in regional
magazines throughout the Southeast. Her favorite pursuits include all things story,
all things community and all things wine. She, along with her husband and five
teenaged kids, think it a beautiful gift to call Roanoke home.

ABOVE:
Fajita Love: Los Amigos'
mixed grill fajita is
the right mix of crisp
vegetables and wellseasoned meat.

110

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE has added a new
restaurant to its lakeside offerings. And though it
debuted at a most imperfect time, Los Amigos is
proving to be the perfect fit for its new digs.
Jimmy Santos moved to Roanoke from Honduras
in 2000, when he was 20 years old. He came to be
with his family and quickly made the restaurant
world his own. Santos worked in every facet of dining,
from dishwashing to management. He spent time in
Virginia Beach and Greenville, South Carolina, always
with an eye for observing and a mind for learning, no
matter what position he occupied.
In 2017, while managing a restaurant in Roanoke,
Santos met Billy Orr, a local contractor and
entrepreneur. The two discovered they had a mutual
love for Latin American inspired food and a desire to
see this cuisine find new levels of expression. After a
week-long cooking frenzy in Santos's kitchen where
Santos wowed Orr with his culinary prowess, the
two committed to a partnership and finding Santos's
cuisine a home.

Los Amigos-"the friends"-opened its first location
in 2018 on Brambleton Avenue. Within months,
Santos and Orr were looking for a larger location. In
June 2019, they moved to Towers Shopping Center.
Not only was their new place bigger, it had a large
outdoor patio for extra seating-a feature Santos says
in hindsight was a complete gift.
"I thank God every day for the vision to find a
new location," says Santos, reflecting on how their
outdoor spaces-both at Towers and Smith Mountain
Lake-would become a lifeline during the worldwide
pandemic no one saw coming.
The Los Amigos Towers location had only been
open five months when Santos received a phone call
from the management of Crazy Horse Marina at
Smith Mountain Lake. They knew Santos from his
prior work managing the restaurant located there, and
asked if he would be interested in taking it over. Before
saying yes, Santos insisted they come to Roanoke and
eat at Los Amigos. He wanted them to know exactly
the quality of food, service and atmosphere they would
be adding to their establishment.

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The Roanoker - September/October 2020

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