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Editors' Pick
Best Best Tribute to a Pioneering Revolutionary

At  Hacienda Pancho Villa , a group of Mexican immigrants is making a mint, without having to print “fiat money,” as supporters of the restaurant’s namesake did in the early part of the 20th century, to finance his revolt against a former military-hero-turned dictator. He also took land from the rich, used pamphlets to turn public opinion his way, and firing squads against his opponents, paving the way for revolutions in Russia during his own lifetime, but even the one in Zimbabwe, still ongoing today. The fire in the spicy table salsa may have come directly from Pancho Villa’s belly, just as the perfect amount of salt on the chips may have come from his sweat. The energy in the staff, and in the kitchen, certainly evokes the dancing feet of Villa, whose stamina was legendary. (He was also a teetotaler, but fortunately that tradition is not carried on here, with local beers on tap, and top-quality margaritas with the sweetness of Villa, rumored to have married more than 20 women.) Like Villa, the restaurant started small, in Brunswick, building up its experience, its expertise, its character, and its methods, until it was ready to triumphantly enter the Portland scene. Like Villa, the restaurant is likely to become a major media star, for being a place with unbelievably tasty and filling authentic Mexican food as well as a five-pound Burrito Macho that, if you eat it, you get your picture up on the wall. (You still have to pay for it, mind you — none of that “it’s so big, if you eat it all it’s free” garbage for these savvy businesspeople.) Nothing is done half-way at this place. It is, after all, named for the man who devised the battle tactic of packing a train with explosives and sending it, throttle jammed, at top speed toward its foes. Hacienda Pancho Villa | 671 Main St, South Portland | 207.871.1500 | 110 Pleasant St, Brunswick | 207.729.0029

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