Sisters Add a Personal Touch to Their Mexican Eatery

Writer / Seth Johnson
Photographer / Linda Oldiges

For Cynthia Zimla and her sister Evelyn Veloz, owning a restaurant has always been a dream.

“Every day it’s just a dream to be able to go in and fulfill everything that we’ve ever dreamed of,” says Zimla, who owns Agave Bar and Grill with Veloz. “It’s literally breathtaking every single day.”

Agave Bar and GrillWith specials every day of the week, the restaurant has a menu that features unique takes on burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas and more.

Zimla and Veloz share a restaurateur frame of mind that stems from their parents.

“It all started with our parents,” Zimla says. “They are the pillars of everything that we do. She and I are running and operating these restaurants, and every time we need advice we always just go back to our parents.”

After searching for a restaurant to purchase, Zimla and Veloz eventually decided on Agave Bar and Grill, which already had an established customer base in Carmel.

“We met with Alejandro [Hernandez], who was the previous owner of Agave, and he said, ‘I’m leaving and I would love to sell it to you guys,’” Zimla says. “The moment we walked into Agave, it was love at first sight.”

The sisters’ Mexican upbringing inspires the current Agave Bar and Grill menu.

Agave Bar and Grill“We’ve actually added a few dishes to the menu that have been authentic to where we’re from – Toluca, Mexico,” Zimla says. “They’re dishes we loved growing up when our parents would make them. That’s exactly why we added them to the menu. We wanted to make sure that when people went to eat at Agave, they had the feeling that they’re getting a homemade meal, while eating with family and friends.”

Some of the specialty items at Agave Bar and Grill include the sopes and molcajete.

“We added sopes, and you can mix with steak, chicken and chorizo,” Zimla says. “We also added molcajete, which is chicken, streak, shrimp and chorizo, and it’s cooked inside this volcano rock. It’s brought out to the table still sizzling in this volcano rock.”

Other items at Agave Bar and Grill include the tamales and Puebla poblano.

“People love the tamales,” Zimla says. “Those are cooked in sheets of corn, and we’ve just kind of switched the recipe a little bit to make it more ours. The Puebla poblano has a poblano pepper from where my father is from – Puebla, Mexico. It had a few strips in there. We just added some more so you could actually get the taste of that poblano pepper.”

Agave Bar and Grill offers a specialty drink menu as well.

“We added the paloma,” Zimla says. “It’s an easy, authentic Mexican drink. We just made it a little bit spicier. We also have a spicy margarita and a black margarita. Throughout the time we’ve been there, we’ve perfected the skinny margarita too, which is our own special recipe.”

Every time a customer walks into Agave Bar and Grill, they can expect to find a daily special.

“The specials we’ve made throughout the week are to get you going,” Zimla says. “On Mondays, we do something easy like a combo, where you’re coming back from the weekend. Then slowly throughout the week it’s something more fun. We have a Toluca burrito and the enchiladas.”

Agave Bar and Grill

When it comes to the staff at Agave Bar and Grill, Zimla says her employees are like family.

“Our staff have all been there with us for almost four years,” she says. “They’re honestly family. During the holidays, they actually all come to our house with their families. We don’t consider them staff. Everybody’s just a family member.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Zimla says Agave Bar and Grill has been able to remain busy, thanks especially to takeout orders.

“I wouldn’t say it affected us in business [except] with people dining in,” Zimla says of the pandemic. “People were scared to come out, and we understand that, so we had to switch gears to accommodate more takeout. I think we had to grow and evolve with it.”

As for the support Agave Bar and Grill receives from the Carmel community, Zimla and Veloz are extremely grateful.

“They leave me speechless,” Zimla says. “We’ve watched so many of our guests’ children grow up. They call me Miss Cindy because I’ve watched them from when they were in strollers to where they’re walking and talking now. They’ve just been so supportive since the moment they heard Agave had new ownership.”

Agave Bar and Grill is located at 31 East Main Street in Carmel. You can call them at 317-844-5551, and visit their website at

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