Cabos Bonitos Grill & Cantina is set to open in late March at 406 South Ave., in the space that formerly housed Maria's Mexican Restaurant, which closed last year after 25 years in business. (Photo by Jack McGee)

A new Mexican restaurant, Cabos Bonitos Grill & Cantina, is opening in the space that formerly housed Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in downtown Springfield.

Alongside Cabos Bonitos’ menu, which will be prepared in their from-scratch kitchen, they have a bar that will be making drinks from their non-alcoholic menu in addition to margaritas and other cocktails.

Some food items include fried avocados, bacon-infused guacamole and a southern fried chicken taco, among other classic and unique Mexican dishes.

“We make everything fresh, not frozen,” owner James Daniel said. “Let’s say we make 25 beef tamales and we sell out of those, that’s it for the day, because we want to make sure that they’re fresh.”

Cabos Bonitos Grill & Cantina is the first restaurant Daniel will own after 15 years in the industry. He brings with him experience in the form of past colleagues and financial knowledge with a background in banking and finance.

Formerly the assistant general manager at Los Cabos Mexican Grill and Cantina in Springfield, which closed in December 2022, Daniel is employing some of his former coworkers in his first restaurant venture.

“I’m excited to get back together [with] my servers and bartenders…they are like family,” he said.

Daniel is also looking forward to “seeing the regulars from Los Cabos, just the people that we’ve known for years.”

James Daniel, the owner of Cabos Bonitos Grill & Cantina, showing off their menu. (Photo by Jack McGee)

With a soft opening weeks away, they are wrapping up a much-needed facelift to the building

Maria’s, like Los Cabos, closed their doors in 2022, after 25 years in business. 

After looking at several possible locations for his concept, including the building that formerly housed Riad just down the street, Daniel eventually landed on 406 South Ave., but he knew it would need some work.

They have since begun redecorating, putting in new flooring in the kitchen and replacing the soda fountain systems, in addition to other projects.

The restaurant comprises two main rooms, one that serves as the main dining area, and the other for overflow and private parties. Daniel said he has already been getting requests for recurring bookings for the private dining room.

Despite the closure of a Mexican restaurant in the same space just months prior, Daniel is confident that his concept will succeed in a downtown that has seen multiple restaurant closures in recent months, for a variety of reasons.

While they have mostly shored up their front-of-house, Daniel said they are still looking to hire cooks to fill out what will be a nearly 30-person staff.

He hopes to begin training on March 22, ahead of what they’re hopeful will be their soft opening on Monday, March 27, which will eventually be followed by a grand opening, the date of which is yet to be announced.

Once up and running, Cabos Bonitos Grill & Cantina will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Cabos Bonitos Grill & Cantina is set to open in late March at 406 S. Ave, in the space that formerly housed Maria’s Mexican Restaurant, which closed last year after 25 years in business. (Photo by Jack McGee)

Jack McGee

Jack McGee is the business and economic development reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. He previously covered politics and elections for the Citizen. Before that, he worked at documentary film company Carbon Trace Productions and Missouri State University’s student-led newspaper, The Standard. He’s an MSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and a minor political science. Reach him at or (417) 719-5129. More by Jack McGee