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Habañero Hots Restaurante and Salsa Company: A New Twist on Tequila

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Lodi restaurateur John DeNigris began his career as a dishwasher in the restaurant that he would go on to own and that would become the Habañero Hots Restaurante and Salsa Company, one of the most popular restaurants and bars in Lodi, California. The success of Habañero Hots can be attributed in large degree to John’s hands-on style of management plus a menu based on family recipes handed down for three generations. 

Personal Attention
When visiting Habañero Hots, you may find John anywhere. He could be in the kitchen helping to get orders served up fresh and piping hot; behind the bar mixing up a batch of his famous margaritas; or greeting guests at the door and seating them personally when things get busy. Or sit still, and John will probably come by your table to say hello and make sure that your visit to Habañero Hots was everything you expected. If you are not friends and family when you stop by the first time, you will be the next time, and the next and the next. 

“Habañero Hots has been serving up homemade Mexican food for over 38 years in Lodi and I have been there the whole time,” John noted. “I eventually purchased the restaurant in 1996. It is my absolute passion to be in the hospitality business.”

He and his chefs search out only the best to serve customers, and when available, find local ingredients. “We believe ‘fresh’ is a flavor and we are always creating and evolving our menu. Our bar staff also has the same philosophy, using fresh seasonal local fruits in our margaritas and craft cocktails,” he continued. “We have more than 180 tequilas on our list, including our own brand. Our quest for the perfect tequila has taken years and thousands of miles traveled but is well worth it.”  

New Tequila Reposado
John and his team spent many days in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, working with master distiller Carlos Camarena. The Tequila Reposado is produced in the Highlands there, where the microclimate and mineral-rich clay soil allow the blue agave plant to grow and flourish. Each plant is allowed to grow seven to ten years before it is harvested, resulting in the mellow, fully developed flavor. This tequila is not mass produced but carefully made in smaller batches.    

“Enjoy our private-labeled tequila in a fresh lime margarita, straight up, on the rocks or in a craft cocktail,” he invited. “I like to say my reward is not the money I make but the customers I please. That is what I enjoy most.”

Habañero Hots Restaurante is also a gathering place where people from all over the area come for the fun, as well as the food. Habañero Hots offers full-service catering, banquet facilities and a full bar onsite. “Our restaurant is perfect for get-togethers, company meetings, parties, picnics or any other special occasions,” John affirmed. “We are your source for fresh homemade Mexican food. Habañero Hots’ catering can handle your next fiesta from a full sit-down dinner to a casual buffet. Need help planning your function or just have questions? Just call and ask.

Habañero Hots Restaurante is located at 1024 E. Victor Road, Lodi, California. Visit or call 209-369-3791 for menu, hours and more information.