The Roanoker - September/October 2020 - 112

ABOVE:
Celebrating Its Place:
Los Amigos brings the
beauty of SML indoors
with natural materials,
minimal décor and walls
of windows.

112

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

On January 1, 2020, Santos and Orr took over the
Smith Mountain Lake restaurant. After extensive
remodeling work both inside and out, the second location
of Los Amigos was ready to open. They chose March
16, 2020. It was an overwhelming and happy reception.
"We had a great response," says Santos of their
opening week. "Everyone was so glad we were here. I
know this community from when I worked here before.
So, it was lots of hugs and welcoming."
One week later, Los Amigos, along with every
other restaurant in Virginia, was ordered to close their
doors. Santos says he was in shock. But his view of the
COVID-19 pandemic was not without hope.
"I remember I sat down over in that corner," says
Santos pointing to a table and chairs set against a
wall of windows. "And I looked out at the lake and
said, 'You know what? I've come so far for this. I'm
not going to give up.' In Honduras, people are always
adjusting to the situation in front of them. They don't
have a lot. Every day they have to take as it comes. So,
this COVID-19? I think, we have food, we can feed
our staff, we're still alive. This makes me very happy."
Santos says he prayed for guidance and developed a
plan. First, he considered how Los Amigos could serve
the local community through delivery, curbside and
dockside pick-ups. Next, he had an honest conversation
with his staff. He told them the most he could offer
were daily meals. There was no money to pay them.
He would understand if they left. No one did. It was
a rough way to start a restaurant for sure. But Santos
kept believing and stayed patient.
Santos's way of approaching life from an abundant
mindset shows up in his food. The Los Amigos menu
is built on a foundation of abundance: fresh, glutenfree, non-GMO and-as much as possible-organic
ingredients. Santos says this means he's paying much
more for ingredients and has to search harder to find
things like non-GMO tortilla shells. But these efforts
are what sets Los Amigos apart.
When I dine at Los Amigos I take full advantage

of its promise on freshness. I especially enjoy ordering
those items where you can truly taste the difference.
For me, this begins with a Los Amigos' margarita,
made with only freshly squeezed fruit and in-house
made mixes. I've tried several different varieties and
have yet to meet one I didn't like.
Next are appetizers. My husband and I often order
the seared ahi tuna de la playa. The seared ahi tuna is
drizzled in a fine tasting soy ginger sauce with fresh
avocado surrounding it. We also like the cheese dip and
"Gring O" pico de gallo. The cheese dip is somewhat
magical. It's creamy without the heaviness; flavorful
without being overly rich. And the pico de gallo is an
easy harmony of garden flavors.
As for entrées, I usually choose from one of Los
Amigos' excellent fajita offerings. I love the abundance
and crispness of the vegetables served in their fajitas.
My two favorites are the mixed grill and the tropical
fajitas. My husband likes their tacos. On our last visit,
he had the tacos al pastor. The grilled pork seasoning is
perfect for pairing with the sweetness of the pineapple
adobo sauce, and then topped with chopped onion and
lots of fresh cilantro with tomatillo sauce served on
the side. All this, while taking in generous helpings
of evening lake and mountain views. 	
Santos says he and Orr weren't looking to expand
Los Amigos to Smith Mountain Lake. And yet, with
Santos's passion for fresh cuisine coupled with the
lake's extravagant offerings of nature's beauty, it's hard
to imagine it could be any other way. I

LOS AMIGOS

AT SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE
404 CRAZY HORSE MARINA
MONETA , VA 24121
LOSAMIGOSMARINA .COM
540-912-0221
HOURS:
SUN - THURS: 11AM - 10PM
FRI - SAT: 11AM - 11PM

TheRoanoker.com


http://www.LOSAMIGOSMARINA.COM http://www.TheRoanoker.com

The Roanoker - September/October 2020

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