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El Caminante in Flemingsburg is a community fixture

When Rodolfo Lopez finally opened his own restaurant in 2008, he named it El Caminante—The Wayfarer—because in a way, that’s how he sees himself. Originally from Mexico, he traveled to Virginia, where he met his wife, Irma Ignacio, and then to Kentucky, where he opened his restaurant in Flemingsburg. Served by Fleming-Mason Energy, El Caminante was followed by a second location in nearby Maysville. 

“My dream was to become an entrepreneur, and I found a lot of opportunities in Kentucky,” he says, speaking through their daughter Elizabeth Ignacio, the oldest of four, who served as translator. 

Rodolfo’s big dreams and hard work paid off with two restaurant locations that have each become fixtures in their communities. Lopez creates the menu with help from his four brothers, and many dishes are family recipes. “Whatever is used at the restaurant is also used at home,” he says. 

Popular items on the extensive menu include chimichangas (soft or deep-fried tortillas filled with beef, pork or chicken), pollo bandito (chicken with cheese dip, rice and beans), chori pollo (grilled chicken with onions and chorizo) and many more. Lopez takes pride in not being limited by the menu. Whatever a customer asks for, he will try to make. 

He says it’s important for him to know that no one who comes through his doors will go to sleep hungry, especially children and the elderly. Last December, a Facebook post from the Maysville location offered a free Christmas meal for anyone who couldn’t pay. “Please let your waiter know prior to ordering,” the post said, “and no questions will be asked.” 

El Caminante is open for lunch and dinner, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Friday–Saturday and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sunday. Flemingburg: 940 Elizaville Ave.; Maysville: 735 U.S. 68 Business. 

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