Riviera Maya, a new Mexican restaurant, will open Dec. 1 at 116 S. Franklin Road in Bloomington. Riviera Maya offers customers a cultural experience different from most other restaurants, the employees said.
Riviera Maya has locations in Fishers, Anderson, Columbus and Lafayette. After a long process of obtaining liquor licenses, food licenses and inspections, the employees are excited to finally be opening in Bloomington.
IU sophomore Sonja Geddes has worked at the Lafayette location since January of 2021 and plans to work at the new location when it opens. She has noticed people are impressed by the large menu that offers a variety of dishes and a lot of seafood. The restaurant also offers a large drink menu with unique options such as their own tequila.
“It's a house tequila called Maestro Bobel,” general manager Ruben Rangel said. “We go into Mexico and make one of those barrels for us and bring it back here and use it.”
Rangel said Riviera Maya plans to offer live music, like a mariachi band, on opening night but also on a regular basis. Rangel said the restaurant will offer the Bloomington community authentic Mexican food.
“What really stands out to me about Riviera Maya is when you walk in there is always something to look at,” sophomore employee Sonja Geddes said. The decorations, the music, and just the overall atmosphere makes it so much more welcoming than other restaurants. It’s an experience and a place to eat dinner.”
Along with the food, the inside of the restaurant provides a cultural experience to customers. All decorations, doors and tables inside the restaurant are imported from Mexico, according to Rangel. The restaurant is large with a unique atmosphere and includes party rooms and catering services.
“I think that Bloomington was lacking that staple Mexican restaurant that you know is always going to be good and consistent,” Geddes said. “Everything is more of an experience rather than just a place to eat.”
Riviera Maya will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Riviera Maya offers 10% off to all IU students who show their student ID. The restaurant is also looking for students to hire.