A local chef will run MGM National Harbor’s flashy new Mexican Restaurant

Alexis Samayoa. (Courtesy MGM National Harbor)

MGM National Harbor will soon open an outpost of MGM’s flashy Las Vegas Mexican restaurant Diablo’s Cantina, and it has selected a local chef to oversee it.

Alexis Samayoa will helm the Mexican restaurant, which is scheduled to open sometime this summer. The National Harbor Diablo’s Cantina was originally planned for a 2020 opening, but it was sidelined by casino closings and the pandemic.

It will replace the former Fish by Jose Andres restaurant, which closed in January 2020. Fish was an original MGM National Harbor restaurant, opening when the casino did in 2016.

Samayoa, who came to D.C. in 2015 to serve as the opening executive chef at Espita Mezcaleria, was named one of three corporate chefs at Mike Isabella Concepts in 2017. He also served as executive chef for RJS companies, overseeing rooftop beer garden TAKODA, and Cortez, a California-inspired bar known for its Tex-Mex snacks.

He was most recently the corporate chef of Latin concepts for Street Guys Hospitality.

“It’s been an honor to be part of the expansion of Latin cuisine throughout the DMV. I’m excited to now continue that journey with Diablo’s, sharing my vision and passion for the cuisine that has shaped so much of my life,” Samayoa said.

MGM has two Diablo’s Cantina locations in Las Vegas, at The Mirage and Luxor. The Vegas locations are known for their table side guacamole. Eater Las Vegas has called Diablo’s Cantinas’ Las Vegas locations “loud and lively bars and restaurants.”

Diablo’s Cantina will join several other restaurants at MGM National Harbor, including Asian restaurant Ginger and Voltaggio Brothers Steak House.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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