The food scene in Mt. Lebanon just got livelier and more diverse.

Totopo, a 250-seat restaurant that opened June 1st in the location of the former Walnut Grill on Washington Rd., is a welcome addition to the community which has lacked an authentic Mexican restaurant.

The menu offers a wide variety of authentic and diverse Mexican fare, including Baja-style fish tacos, and an extensive selection of tequila. Fresh guacamole made tableside and traditional tamales (the Northern Tamale is wrapped in corn husk, and the Southern Tamale is wrapped in banana leaf) are menu highlights, along with the house-made citrus margarita mix. (We highly recommend.)

The festive atmosphere is enhanced by traditional Mexican music and design details such as blue ceramic tile walls, red bar stools, raw iron, and crafts throughout, all of which hail from Mexico.  

Totopo owner, Juan Grimaldo. Photo by TH Carlisle
Totopo owner, Juan Grimaldo. Photo by TH Carlisle

Originally from Leon, Mexico and a Pittsburgher since the age of fifteen,  owner Juan Grimaldo spent his early career rising through the ranks of the service industry—most recently at Emiliano’s—before starting Totopo, which means tortilla chip in the Aztec language of nahuatl. The staff are mostly from Mexico as well.

Juan’s main goal is to “satisfy and surprise customers with new menu items.” So far so good, judging from the line of customers waiting for tables on a weeknight. 

“We’re really excited about their arrival,” says Eric Milliron, economic development officer for Mt. Lebanon. Residents have long been asking for a Mexican restaurant, he adds.

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“Washington Road has become a third place gathering spot, with places where people can interact, socialize, and have experiences. Totopo really expands this activity into the evening. I told Juan that there would be a tsunami of people coming to the restaurant right away, and there has been.”

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner every day, with a brunch menu that runs until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for your fill of huevos, churro waffles, and Bloody Marys. Look here for the full menu, as well as a list of the daily specials and happy hour specials.

Caroline is working towards completing her Masters in Food Studies at Chatham University. She is an avid runner with a penchant for tiny spoons.