BETHEL — A new restaurant with a Mexican flair is coming to the Mountain View Mall in Bethel, next to Kowloon Village and Toe Tappin’ Jazz Dance Studio.

Many passers-by have already noticed the colorful new paint job on the former Homeslice Pizza restaurant. 

Owners Kevin and Tiffaney McAllister hope to open La Choza on Dec. 27, or at least within that week.

La Choza means “the shack” in Spanish. 

The McAllisters have assembled an experienced team to assist them in preparing food from scratch, and to provide vegan and gluten-free options, in addition to traditional Mexican fare mixed with some New England favorites, such as fish and chips. 

Alex Helms, former kitchen manager at the Sunday River Brew Pub, will manage the kitchen at La Choza. Chris Kauchak, also formerly of the Brew Pub, will take on the role of general manager. He comes with ample traveling experience in preparation for his new role. 

“His passion is Mexican food,” Helms said. “He’s traveled to Mexico and Puerto Rico just to get different ideas about the authenticity of it. He puts a lot of effort into the food — everything will be made in-house.”

The McAllisters aren’t rookies when it comes to running a restaurant. They own two seasonal spots in Old Orchard Beach — The Shack, which serves seafood, and Butcher Burger, a takeout, over-the-counter venue. For them, a Bethel location was an opportunity to provide work for their employees year-round — in the summertime in Old Orchard and during the winter in Bethel. 

As for the atmosphere of La Choza, Kevin McAllister says he just wants it to have “a good vibe.”

“It’s primarily a Mexican place, but I don’t envision Mexican music being played,” McAllister said. “We’ll have three TVs, a full bar, and it’ll just be a relaxed environment.” 

The projected dinner hours of La Choza at 117 Main St. are Monday through Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m., and 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The McAllisters plan to serve lunch from 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

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