MESTIZA TO FILL DOWN­TOWN SPOT

Mex­i­can food restau­rant Mestiza Bar y Cocina will open at the for­mer Mon­terey Street lo­ca­tion of Thomas Hill Or­gan­ics.

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY CASSANDRA GARIBAY

A new fine-din­ing Mex­i­can restau­rant that blends old and new world fla­vors is com­ing to the down­town San Luis Obispo space that was pre­vi­ously home to Thomas Hill Or­gan­ics.

Mestiza Bar y Cocina, which will be lo­cated above Wil­liams Sonoma at 858 Mon­terey St., is coowned by chef Ri­cardo Or­tega and restau­rant group Cus­tom House.

Cus­tom House shares a parent com­pany with Com­pass Health and owns seven other restau­rants on the Cen­tral Coast, in­clud­ing Ven­tana Grill in Pismo Beach, and Old Cus­tom House and Mr. Rick’s in Avila Beach.

Ac­cord­ing to Com­pass Health CEO Darren Smith, the menu will have tra­di­tional Mex­i­can fla­vors with fresh in­gre­di­ents and a mod­ern spin, in line with the name of the restau­rant. Mestiza will also have a full bar with “strong Mez­cal in­flu­ence” and craft cock­tails.

“The blend­ing of the way the food has been cre­ated — blend­ing of old world, new world — (the name Mestiza) seemed to fit,” Smith said. “The true def­i­ni­tion of ‘mestiza’ is blend­ing of cul­ture, and that re­ally worked with kind of where we were go­ing.”

With the old world in mind, Smith said the tor­tillas served will be stone­ground on site.

Smith and Or­tega said the menu is a work in progress, but prices are ex­pected to range from $12 to $40 a plate.

“His­tor­i­cally, the way peo­ple view Mex­i­can food it is very spe­cific to your stan­dard bur­ri­tos, tacos,” Smith said. “We’re try­ing to cre­ate more of a din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with that cui

sine.”

Cus­tom House took over the space four months ago and has yet to set an open­ing date. How­ever, Smith said Mestiza will likely open in early sum­mer af­ter the walk­way be­tween the restau­rant and Palm Street, near Ho­tel SLO, is no longer un­der con­struc­tion.

Al­though Smith said he hopes to serve ho­tel guests, he said the main draw was to take part in the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of Chi­na­town and Mon­terey Street.

“We were hop­ing to par­tic­i­pate in a trans­for­ma­tion of the restau­rant cor­ri­dor that would be formed here with Giuseppe’s and the steak­house (at Ho­tel SLO), our lo­ca­tion and what­ever lo­ca­tion de­cides to go in next door to Giuseppe’s,” Smith said.

The in­te­rior of the 3,800-square-foot restau­rant is dec­o­rated with old and new el­e­ments found in Mex­ico City and will fea­ture a new pa­tio area, Smith said.

Smith said Cus­tom House has hired about half of the staff needed for the new restau­rant, but they are still seek­ing pro­fes­sional servers.

CASSANDRA GARIBAY [email protected]­bune­news.com

Mestiza Bar y Cocina is a new fine-din­ing Mex­i­can restau­rant open­ing in San Luis Obispo with a “strong Mez­cal in­flu­ence” full-liquor bar.

CASSANDRA GARIBAY [email protected]­bune­news.com

Mez­tiza Bar y Cocina will open in what was for­merly Thomas Hill Or­gan­ics at 858 Mon­terey St.

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