Starting a Fire with Tacos and Tequila

Hunting & Gathering


Consider yourself warmed—heating up the streets of downtown is Main Street’s newest restaurant, El Melvin Cocina Mexicana. Provisioning the toasty twosome of tequila and tacos, new owners—Jeff Good, Mitch Good and Matt Hess—take over the former residency of Two Senoritas just in time for season. With a funky, festive rebranding and total inscape makeover with the help of local restaurateur Mark Caragiulo, the space revolutionized into the enlivened El Melvin. The revamp also saw an upscale craft cocktail menu come together by the bartending expertise of Cocktails By Spence Consulting, and includes a fleet of top-shelf tequilas including Hiatus, a pure agave azul tequila brand with a strong local presence and dangerously smooth motives. Firing up the fusion of authentic Mexican fare with a modern twist, is Executive Chef Jonatan Alberto. Hailing from the city of Puebla, Mexico, Chef has instilled his long-held family recipes—including his mother’s guacamole and father’s mole sauce—while capturing a newfangled take on dishes like Duck Enchiladas and the Fried Moctezuma.

And at El Mel’s Mercado, an open-window counter adorned with tropical flowers and shelves of Jarritos’ natural flavored sodas, you can opt to create your own guacamole. At each table, a pencil and checklist prompt you to mark off various fresh ingredients to toss in for the making of your ideal chip dip—including proteins like carnitas, chicken tinga and lobster; citrus fruits like pineapples and mangos; and a brigade of peppers like habaneros and jalapenos to uptick the spice level. Whether you saunter in for live Latin music and late night dancing on the weekend, stop in for some steak tacos on your lunch break or come to chill in the lounge of cushions with a Farmers Garden margarita—El Mel brings that warm, fiesta feeling with flair and flavor. 

Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

El Melvin Cocina Mexicana, 1355 Main Street Sarasota, 941-366-1618, @elmelvinsarasota.

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