Master chefs and culinary artists are inspired by their gardens, farms, greenmarkets, & artisanal food makers. Author Leeann Lavin has written a book about the nexus of garden art and culinary art. The blog chronicles the process of producing the first-in-a-series-book: The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook & explores the exciting, burgeoning farm to table movement, food, and local, seasonal, delicious ingredients.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Mexicue Parks It on Seventh Avenue Food Truck Fav Opens 1st Restaurant
Upstairs dining room @ Mexicue
Long known as Fashion Avenue, the Mexican barbeque food truck phenomenon Mexicue fittingly styled it’s first brick and mortar store, located at 345 Seventh Avenue (29th St), in its “reinterpreted signature orange” on the walls, (see below* for fashion report on color orange) natural wainscotting, “salvaged wood beams and black diamond plate.”The floors are a dark swirl of slate.The upstairs offers orange and amber track lighting overhead, wooden bench seating the length of one side and three bistro tables on the other; both sides ending at the full view window overlooking the avenue.
Step right up & order
It’s an authentic, natural look that mirrors the simple and strong Mexicue food concept.The name itself says it best:Mexican cozying up to BBQ, to fuse: Mexicue.Can you hear the mariachi trumpets blaring?!
Who doesn’t love the smokin’ earthy taste of southern BBQ served with a spicy mix of a Mexican fire dancing on the tongue?
Not the legions of Mexicue fans who well, queued around the block to get their lips around the finger-lickin’ Burnt End Sliders with cilantro lime cream and house pickled jalapenos, Berkshire Pulled Pork with avocado smash and picked red onion, not to mention the Tacos featuring Alabama Chicken with creamy bbq sauce and cotija, Smokey BBQ Beans with habanero aioli slaw, tortilla strips and cotija or Smoked Short Ribs with Memphis mole, romaine, and cotija.
there was so much anticipation and buzz for the restaurant during it’s soft opening according to Mexicue’s store manager, Greg Parsons, the owners Dave Schillace and Thomas Kelly determined to slide up the date of the Grand Opening.Kelly adds that operationally, they also confirmed the staff and kitchen were good to go.Parsons claims it is a coincidence Mexicue opened during New York Restaurant Week http://www.nycgo.com/restaurantweekBut just sayin’
Like many New Yorkers, the owners came to Gotham with a dream.And their dream was to open a restaurant.Riding the initial fast lane of truck food frenzy, the two always knew they’d do a restaurant.While many view the food truck craze as a distant step-child to established restaurants, Mexicue doesn’t seem to view it as either/or.They will continue to drive their food truck, adding a second one soon, in fact, to bring their fusion food experience to more of their foodie fans.At the same time, they’ll look to add more brick and mortar restaurants.“A lot of people vastly underestimate and misjudge the cost it takes to operate a food truck, especially if the food is cooked on the truck,” explains Kelly in answering the question of why take on the expense and responsibility of a storefront restaurant. So rather than view food trucks as a cheaper restaurant, the two smart entrepreneurs are managing their burgeoning food empire, having tested their food concept and cultivating a following.
While acknowledging he’d like to source more of Mexicue’s ingredients locally, doing as much as they can presently with local farmers (digits crossed for garnering more local ingredients…) they do offer a seasonal recipe contest.Customers are encouraged to submit their ideas for taco or slider menu items using the featured seasonal ingredient and winners will be featured on the menu for a month, receive a Mexicue gift certificate and a Manhattan Messenger bag by Lexdray (www.lexdray.com) And win $50. (that can buy a lot of sliders!)Now, the Market Special Contest features sweet corn from Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op. http://www.lancasterfarmfresh.com
As kings of the road, Shillace and Kelly know the mean streets of New York so why pick the veritable food desert that is Midtown to put the brakes on and open the restaurant?“We spent a lot of time in the neighborhood, and the response was always very good,” responds Kelly.
Manager Parsons said their customers are the hip, energized demographic that is not unlike the owners or the Mexicue staff.With two exceptions, everything on the menu is under $10 too. There is a big lunch audience who will undoubtedly become Mexicue regulars.Kelly notes the most popular menu item is the BBQ Brisket slider.
What does success look like for their first restaurant?“People enjoying the food,” says Kelly.
Mexicue will be fashionably open on 7th Avenue from 11 am to
* By the way, every fashionista knows orange is a vibrant, energizing color statement.But here’s a little fun Mexicue color factoid.Did you know that, according to blurtit.com, orange “is a color which symbolizes energy, zest, enthusiasm and creativity. One who wears orange is known to be someone who loves to experiment. Orange is also an appetite stimulant. (Not that you’ll need it at Mexicue!)
The color orange signifies an open-minded approach. It gives vibes of friendship, fun and informality. Sexually speaking, the color orange signifies passion and foreplay, an adjunct to the color red, which signifies erotica. If red is the color of passion, then orange is known to be the 'igniter' of passion.”
Watch out Mexicue diners!There is so much fun to be had with the hot, spicy and sexy food where you see the Mexicue orange.