OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Copal, a Mexican restaurant near 132 and Maple, is open.
The name Copal is a tree resin and is very popular in southern Mexico. It's used to burn incense and for other purposes.
The restaurant prides itself on its fresh and authentic flavor based on the southern region of Mexico, particularly the state of Oaxaca, which has a number of climates and cultures which contributes to making the cuisine stand out. Most notable is their mole.
"It takes us a long time to make it," said owner Cinthia Rebeca Lopez. "We use all the peppers, the dry peppers that are available here in Nebraska, but it's a dark mole, kind of bitter, and then also with the chocolate like on the sweet side. Also my grandmother, she is a tiny little old lady, and she's known in Lincoln because she gets into the kitchen and is always preparing food."
Lopez was originally scheduled to open the doors in March, but couldn't because of the pandemic.
Instead Lopez recently opened the vibrant and colorful restaurant on Cinco de Mayo around the time dine-in was allowed again for restaurants in Omaha.
"We were ready to open probably on a Thursday or Friday and then everything shut down on a Monday," Lopez said. "So there was no reason to open, and without anyone knowing us, and then with all the situation happening, there were a lot of things that were unexpected."
Like other businesses, Copal has also implemented new guidelines for its staff due to COVID-19.
"Most of the tables have the distance and marked, and then everybody uses the masks and everybody sanitizes, and we're just taking as many precautions as you can," Lopez said.
Now, beyond dealing with the pandemic adjustments with extra precautions, Lopez is also working to stay in business and introduce her new restaurant to the market.
"What we want to do is, on Fridays and Saturdays, we want to do a cocktail night out, just for the patio," Lopez said. "Now that the weather is nice, and then we have a great bartender that makes the handcrafted drinks so that we can get some more revenue and hopefully keep the business open."
3623 N. 129th St. Omaha, NE 68164
Monday - Closed
Tuesday - Sunday: 11AM - 9PM