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Miguel Avalos and Christian Diaz opened El Estadio Latin Sports Bar and Grill at 11491 S. Cleveland Ave. in Fort Myers. El Estadio, aptly named “The Stadium,” is a haven for soccer enthusiasts, but also is committed to showcasing all sports. As for the food, the restaurant puts a Latin twist on classic sports bar offerings. 

Celebrating the restaurant’s grand opening Feb. 3, Avalos said there’s since been some menu favorites from guests. While the options on the menu range from wings, pizza and burgers to stand-alone dishes, a closer look at the menu highlights Latin flavors. 

“It’s diversity,” Diaz said. “It’s not Mexican. It’s not Honduran. It’s not Colombian. The menu’s just a variety of Latinos in general and that’s something that’s different than anywhere else. Either you go to a Mexican restaurant, or you go to a Peruvian restaurant, but this is just everything.” 

The fusion of classic bar food with Latin inspiration is evident through the wing sauces, including tequila agave habanero, guava barbeque, mole, cilantro lemon and Mexican buffalo. To pair with the wings, jicama sticks, a root vegetable native to Mexico, take place of traditional celery sticks. 

Mole, a traditional Mexican sauce containing chili peppers, chocolate, spices and ground nuts and seeds, also makes its way into a pizza sauce option at El Estadio.  

Avalos said the el estadio picadera mix is the restaurant’s popular meat sampler, including grilled chicken, steak, chorizo and fried chicharron with yuca, cheese, guacamole and pickled onions.  

“I always like the burgers because I’m a big fan of burgers, but If I had to go with something I’d probably go with the picanha,” Avalos said of his favorite dish at the restaurant. 

Picanha, a popular Brazilian cut of beef, is offered at El Estadio as fire grilled with chimichurri sauce.  

The cocktails offered at El Estadio also are Latin inspired. “Of course we have piña coladas and margaritas, but I’m from Oaxaca where mezcal is from and we have a drink called mezcalitas which is very, very popular,” Avalos said. 

Mezcalitas are made with mezcal, a distilled alcoholic spirit made from any type of agave. El Estadio offers mezcalitas in mango, strawberry and tamarindo flavors.  

Diaz said the most popular drink on the menu so far is La Toxica, a mixed drink with empress gin, agave syrup, lemonade and a lavender garnish. 

In addition to its cocktail menu, El Estadio also has 16 beers on tap. 

While taking inspiration from different Latin countries when curating the menu, Diaz said the overall goal is to make the restaurant a place for everyone. 

Given the restaurant’s diverse reach, most recently hosting a cornhole competition and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Diaz said they can celebrate any event, including Cinco de Mayo and different countries’ independence days. Weekly events at the restaurant include karaoke nights, live music nights and bike nights. 

Considering the focus on soccer, events for the Copa America and the Euro Cup are already planned for the restaurant. “It’s not only limited to soccer,” Diaz said. “That’s something that has to be clear because the name is the stadium. It means all sports, but since we’re Hispanic, Hispanics are 90% soccer but we’re going to have basketball, football, whatever’s going on.” 

All sports will have their bases covered at El Estadio with its 54 TV screens, including a 100-inch screen and a mini jumbotron. The restaurant is family-friendly, offering a kid’s menu and packed with activities from a pool table to arcade games.  

El Estadio focuses on having a staff with different nationalities, including Colombian, Italian, Cuban and Ecuadorian.  

Avalos and Diaz said they’re bridging a gap on a type of experience not offered before El Estadio opened. “We needed a place to go and feel at home,” Diaz said. “You go to other places, and they don’t have this Hispanic touch that we need in this town.” 

El Estadio has about 234 indoor and outdoor seats and is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.  

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