Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Rémy Cointreau )

Where should you celebrate Cinco De Mayo on the Jersey Shore?

What Is Cinco De Mayo?

The Literal translation is, “Fifth Of May” in Spanish.

According to the Columbus Dispatch: Cinco de Mayo, also known as the Battle of Puebla Day, falls on a Sunday in 2024.

The annual Cinco De Mayo celebration marks the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire.

On May 5, 1862, 2,000 Mexican soldiers defeated 6,000 French soldiers during a battle in Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in East-Central Mexico. Days later, Mexican President Benito Juárez declared May 5 a national holiday.

  It’s often confused with Independence Day in Mexico (Día de la Independencia), celebrated on Sept. 16, Cinco de Mayo is an important day in Mexico’s history and commemorates Mexican American culture in the United States.

What Else Is Being Celebrated This Weekend?

The Kentucky Derby is May 4th this year, the day before Cinco De Mayo.

People of all colors and cultures will be celebrating all weekend long. Give them an uplifting reason to celebrate and they’ll show up.

People on the Jersey Shore are happy to celebrate even if they’re not Mexican or even if they’re not enthusiasts of horse racing and the first gem in the Triple Crown.

The sale of tequila and bourbon will probably skyrocket with all the Margaritas and Mint Juleps being made by bartenders across the country.

If you want in on the celebration this weekend, there are quite a few places to grab a cocktail and some excellent cultural eats.

If you don’t imbibe, that’s cool, enjoy an authentic Horchata or another non-alcoholic beverage.

Between Monmouth & Ocean Counties, there are more than enough restaurants, bars, and pubs to grab a frozen Margarita or a refreshing Mint Julep.

Tequila or bourbon, your choice.

Let’s take a look at the places and towns that are throwing Cinco De Mayo festivals or serving up great Mexican food for this weekend’s Cinco De Mayo celebration.

  • SATURDAY, May 4th - Cinco De Mayo Festival on Washington Street In Downtown Toms River

    From Noon to 6, enjoy a day long festival to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. Good Eats from local restaurants and Toms River Fire Co. # 1. – Participating restaurants include: A Thyme for All Seasons – Battle River Brewing – Capone’s – Garden State Distillery – Mandoli’s – Mullers Creamery – Oi Sushi – Smokies BBQ & Tacotastic. Enjoy ice cold beer & drinks, plus craft vendors selling their wares & food trucks.

  • SATURDAY- May 4th- 3rd Annual Highlands Fiesta de Mayo Cantina Crawl at Huddy Park - 329 Bay Ave, Highlands, N.J.

    The 3rd Annual Highlands Fiesta de Mayo Cantina Crawl will be held Saturday, May 4th, from 12:00-5:00PM. The fee is $40.00 and includes a Margarita Contest with local restaurants and establishments competing for the Best Margarita in Highlands! Participants will sample delicious 6oz. Margaritas and then vote for their favorite! The fee includes discounted food and drink specials at our local eateries and pubs, specials at many of our fine retail establishments and even some surprise samplings!
    Live Mariachi music will be playing at the participating restaurants to add an authentic Mexican flair to the event!
    Check-in is at Huddy Park, 301 Shore Dr. Highlands, between 11AM and 12:30PM. You will be given a wrist band and map of the participating business locations. 
    You may register the day of the event. This event is a rain or shine event and is non-refundable. 


  • Spicy Cantina - 500 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751

    This lively boardwalk eatery and bar is awesome! Live music, a ton of Margarita flavor choices, including my favorite, the spicy pineapple jalapeno Margarita. A great selection of tequilas, and great food. Don’t forget their famous tableside guacamole. and a plate of empanadas to start the celebration. 


  • La Sierra Restaurant and Bar - 1621 Main St, Lake Como, NJ 07719

    This place has a solid selection of all your favorite Mexican dishes, plus great Margaritas. A hidden gem in the town I work.  The owners are happy to see you and the place is decorated in a colorful cultural fashion.  You’ll feel welcome the minute you walk through the door. Enjoy the live Mariachi band and celebrate Cinco De Mayo.


  • El Familiar - 1246 NJ-166, Toms River, NJ 08753

    This BYOB place is a no frills restaurant with excellent food. A Columbian-Mexican fusion of vibrant flavors and textures for you to enjoy. This place is family owned and the service is terrific. Located in the Stella Towne Center on 166 in Toms River.

    Where to Celebrate Cinco De Mayo On The Jersey Shore






  • Reyna's - 4057 Asbury Ave, Tinton Falls, NJ 07753

    This BYOB place is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in Monmouth County. The portions are huge, the prices are reasonable and the service is beyond friendly. You may have to wait longer than usual for your entree because every incredible dish is cooked to order. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

    Last time I was there, I had the Scallops & Shrimp Chimichanga – served with sour cream and guacamole and a side of yellow rice and refried beans. It was delicious and so huge, I had to take home leftovers.

    Scallops Chimi

  • Escondido Mexican Cuisine & Tequila Bar - 402 W Main St, Freehold, NJ 07728

    This place boasts about their extensive tequila selection and lively atmosphere. Enjoy the Saturday & Sunday Happy Hour from 11am – 4pm with Margarita specials and bar specials. I will say that the Birria Beef Bao Buns made with guajillo braised beef short ribs, pickled red onion, sliced avocado, smoked jalapeño aioli, guajillo chili dipping sauce would be the first thing I order, even before my Margarita.

  • Plaza Tapatia Restaurant - 707 Main St, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    Colorful, old-timey cafe tucked behind a Mexican market serving hearty helpings of classic dishes. The menu is gorgeous and so are the cocktails. For $9.00 grab a house Margarita frozen or on the rocks. I’d be hitting the deep fried whole red snapper mixed with shrimp and other seafood mixed in. 


  • La Cazuela de Doña Mary - 815 Hooper Ave, Toms River, NJ 08753

    No fancy surroundings and no alcohol, but the food is off the charts. This would be a great place to have an intimate authentic Mexican meal or you can throw your own celebration at home and order food from here. The minute you walk through the door, the aroma coming from the kitchen will make you salivate.

    It’s a quaint colorful place, and the people were very friendly. The word delicious doesn’t begin to cover it. You can tell these recipes were handed down from generation to generation.

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