Bill Castro with one of his show horses. File photo by LISA POWELL/STAFF

Daytonian of the Week: Bill Castro from El Meson

Bill Castro is the driving force behind one of the liveliest independent restaurants in the Dayton area.

El Meson got its start in 1978, when Bill’s parents, Herman and Gloria Castro, bought a small pizza parlor in West Carrollton. Over the years, the Castro family started introducing dishes from their native South America on weekends, and slowly, the pizza joint morphed into a full-service restaurant with a far-reaching menu ranging from Spanish-style tapas to multiple specialties from Central and South America.

And don’t even get us STARTED on El Meson’s excellent margaritas (second only to Elsa’s in the 2016 “Best of Dayton” online survey) or its sangrias, which might just be among the best served ANYwhere.

This week, Castro and the restaurant are gearing up for a Cinco De Mayo celebration that includes live music, street food, drink specials, dancing and outdoor fun (with the help of tents and heaters as needed).

Castro serves as managing partner for the restaurant, when he’s not showing horses, another passion that goes back to his childhood in Colombia. We caught up with this week’s Daytonian of the Week to toss some questions his way:

A: Our home!

A: It is small enough to get around and yet unique in the gem of restaurants we have!

A: My father was transferred here to work at the former NCR World Headquarters. He and my mother went on to become the founders of El Meson.

A: I thought I was going to work for only six months in the failing pizza business my parents had purchased, and here I am, still here 38 years and 6 months later.

A: Horses!!!

A: Flying.

A: We would NOT have so many chain and cookie-cutter establishments. Support local entrepreneurs!

A: I think more green space will be going away, and we’ll have more pop-up malls!