Cancun mexican restaurant coming to Sigourney

Jose Sanchez, owner of Cancun, shows off a proof of the menu. The restaurant is planned to open on March 1. 


            Those who miss having an authentic Mexican dining option in Keokuk County will be pleased to know that El Cancun restaurant is opening its doors in Sigourney at the old Tequila Grill location on March 1.

            Owner Jose Sanchez of Oskaloosa first got wind of the location two years ago, but did not consider the high offer at the time. With the property under new ownership and an area eager for a Mexican restaurant again, Sanchez jumped on the opportunity last month. Sanchez, who has worked in the restaurant industry for going on 20 years, is embarking on his first endeavor as an owner with Cancun.

            “I’m very excited to be opening this restaurant and excited to work for myself,” Sanchez said. “This is going to be a good time and I’m happy to bring [Cancun] to this community.”

            Before the big opening day, Sanchez is getting the space ready by having several walls painted and the floor tile cleaned thoroughly. While he enjoys the color and overall design of the place, Sanchez hopes to make changes over the course of several years. That means taking things slowly and effectively.

            “We want to get it right and not rush,” Sanchez said. “My idea is if you can do things better, you do things better. We want to see how things go at the beginning.”

            Sanchez already has hired a kitchen staff he is confident in and plans to break local employees in quietly, as he has learned from opening 12 restaurants for chains like El Charro over his many years of experience. Signature items such as the Molcajete Mexicano, Durango Special, Fajita Cowboy, Street Tacos and a wide selection of drinks are what Sanchez prides himself on.

            Spencer Wright, who bought the property in an auction in October and took possession of it in November, had only one business in a mind when running ads for the space: make it a restaurant again.

            “There’s a bit of nostalgia that goes along with this property,” Wright said. “I grew up in Sigourney and it has always been a restaurant. It was always busy on weekends, and I wanted that back. I know Jose is a real professional, a hard worker, and will do a great job here.”

            Before moving to Oskaloosa, Sanchez has worked at restaurants across the Midwest, where he was born and raised in Chicago. He lives with his wife Fabiola and their four kids; Eric, Kevin, Abigail and Emily.