Red Mesa quietly opens its Mercado digs

Pork Colorado, tamales and more make up Red Mesa Mercado's streetside-style Mexican grub.

click to enlarge Red Mesa Mercado's burrito side and open-air dining area face Baum Avenue. - Meaghan Habuda
Meaghan Habuda
Red Mesa Mercado's burrito side and open-air dining area face Baum Avenue.

On Wednesday, only those strolling near Baum Avenue and 11th Street North in downtown St. Pete were among the fortunate walk-ins to get an unannounced, insider's taste of Red Mesa Mercado, the Veytia clan's latest Mexican joint.

And the same was true for Mercado's social media followers Thursday, when the restaurant shared news of its opening online around 8 a.m. That's how this food editor found out, so I stopped by on my way to work. The spot hadn't opened yet, but I returned later on for a cheese chile relleno and hibiscus tea. (Yum.)

Now the wait is over for everyone.

Starting Friday, Mercado's SoCal-inspired burrito side, and the large outdoor dining room, is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday; 11 to 10 Monday through Wednesday; 11 to 11 Thursday; and 11 to midnight Friday and Saturday.

The menu, prominently mounted near two walk-up order windows, boasts an array of fare fit for sit-down or take-away, including two chimichangas, five specialty burritos, three tacos and eight sides.

Imported and domestic beers on draft, sangria and more are featured on the restaurant's lineup of liquids. And there's even a window dedicated to refills.

Red Mesa Cantina's Peter Veytia said artists John and Paul Vitale — who've adorned many other buildings around the city (like El Gallo Grande) with their work — painted the colorful outside of Mercado.

HueHueCóyotl, the patron saint of mischief I was told about in September, acts as Mercado's overindulgent mascot, and is also incorporated into the building's exterior.

The market, located inside the other half of Mercado, will open in two weeks, Veytia said. It still plans to showcase sauces, salsas and other foods, all hand-curated by Red Mesa.

Kahwa Coffee beverages will be showcased, too, which patrons may order as early as 7:30 a.m. once the shop launches.

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