The team behind the successful trio of Red Mesa restaurants in St. Petersburg is preparing to unveil a new event space later this year. And it's gonna be snazzy.
Dubbed Red Mesa Events, the venue, located above downtown's Red Mesa Cantina at 128 Third St. S., is the result of many years of requests for private event options and catering from restaurantgoers.
"For years, we had to turn down private parties," said marketing director Edgar Veytia. "Now we will have the space and equipment to say yes."
The location became available when nightclub Push Ultra Lounge closed its doors in March after 10 years in business. Veytia says they're in the process of gutting and converting the space, which is set to feature a banquet facility with a Florida-themed ballroom and extravagant bar on the second floor, plus a rooftop cocktail lounge. An opening date is scheduled for late summer or fall, and they've already started taking names for a wait list.
Outfitted with Wi-Fi and high-end video and audio equipment, the venue plans to comfortably accommodate groups of 20 to 150 people. Red Mesa Events hopes to attract everything from business meetings and wedding receptions to informal parties.
Here, food and drink options won't be like anything offered at the Red Mesa restaurants, stepping outside traditional Mexican and Mexican-fusion fare to serve gourmet dining options from a specialized banquet kitchen; the kitchen, along with the cooking equipment being installed, will allow kitchen staff to maintain quality while producing food for a lot more people.
Red Mesa co-owner Shawn Veytia, who helped create the Fourth Street flagship's original bill of fare based on her grandmother's recipes, is working with head chef Chris Fernandez to envision the menus.
"Shawn is much more involved with this one," said Edgar, Shawn's brother-in-law. "They are going all out in developing menus with no restrictions. It's been a kitchen renaissance around here the last three months."
As for what's on the eclectic lineups, diners will have to wait and see. But anyone who's chowed down at one of the Red Mesas lately may have unknowingly received a preview. Over the last few months, the crew has been using their eateries as testing grounds for new dishes, taking feedback and honing recipes.
According to Edgar, having established restaurants at their disposal was a nice advantage that'll help make Red Mesa Events seamless from the start.
"It's had the room to evolve as it should. We're not cutting any corners," he said.
The second-level bar, known as Cantinita Terrace, will also showcase a diverse drink list, a departure from the tequila and mezcal offerings of the bars downstairs. Unlike the setup at Push, the bar is planned adjacent to the wall to make room for lounging on the balcony, and Cantina patrons will have access to Cantinita when its not booked for events.
As for the rooftop cocktail lounge, which Edgar calls an "upscale dive bar," the details are still being worked out. But the bar will have a separate theme and drink menu from its second-floor neighbors.
"No pretense, no hyper-trendy cocktails," Edgar says. "Just a great space offering the classics, done really, really well."