Make us your home page
Instagram

Red Mesa's downtown Cantina will have a menu that knows no borders

ST. PETERSBURG — Peter Veytia claims he has the secret ingredients for making a new restaurant successful in these depressed dining times: variety, convenience and a stone's throw to a hot nightclub.

The space that his new Red Mesa Cantina will call home, a historic corner lot at Third Street S and First Avenue S, not long ago housed DeSanto Latin American Bistro, which recently closed. Within a few blocks, a handful of other once promising restaurants have also shut their doors.

The solution? Offer the late night party crowd at Push Ultra Lounge tasty morsels that are certain to cultivate the palate. Foods like Mexican tortas (a hamburger-like sandwich), Peruvian ceviche (a citrus-infused seafood dish), Venezuelan arepas (savory corn cakes), Puerto Rican mofongo (mashed plantains and pork), bombas from the Dominican Republic (potato fritters), Zigoron from Nicaragua (mashed yucca and pork crackling) and empanadas from Honduras (stuffed savory pockets of meats and cheese).

What all those Latin American foods have in common is that they are comfort foods, they are relatively quick and easy to prepare, and they are generally single servings, sort of like Spanish tapas. At Red Mesa Cantina, they'll grace the same menu and be called lunch and dinner.

Veytia, the longtime owner of Red Mesa Restaurant at 4912 Fourth St. N, frowns upon the concept of fast, affordable food. He prefers words like "inviting" and "spontaneous."

"We don't want to be seen as expensive or special occasion," Veytia said of Cantina. "We want to make it so that our food is inviting at any time of day."

The restaurant, which will have a bar emphasizing Latin American beers and drinks, is to open seven days a week starting in mid to late January. Salads and vegetarian versions of the Latin American classics will round out the menu.

Veytia describes his new venture as family-run, with a twist, in that Thursday through Saturday nights the kitchen will stay open until 2 a.m. or later, serving those exotic comfort foods to hungry clubgoers.

Overseeing the concept of the new restaurant is Veytia's wife, Shawn. In the management will be his son, Peter III, and in the kitchen will be chef Chris Fernandez, who also oversees the kitchen at Red Mesa.

Veytia said the new restaurant will have a different feel than the Mexican-dominated cuisine at Red Mesa, which offers more entrees and traditional platings.

His family didn't want to confuse the two concepts, he said. The Veytias also wanted to stay true to Red Mesa and keep their businesses local.

The restaurant is keeping a no-cover agreement that the owners of DeSanto had with Push Ultra Lounge. When you dine in the outdoor patio section, you can walk into the club upstairs free of charge, Veytia said.

The two spaces are intertwined. The three-floor building is laid out as one continuous space, so that the Red Mesa Cantina will share an upstairs bathroom, elevator, staircase and one entrance with the club. Veytia is subleasing the downstairs portion from the owner. The new restaurant will also have its own downstairs bathroom and main entrance on Third Ave. S.

This is not Veytia's first foray into downtown dining. He also owned Adobo Grill, which operated in BayWalk for five years before closing.

"We could just not get the sales volume up to a level that justified staying longer than our five-year lease," Veytia said of Adobo Grill.

Of course, he wasn't serving Mexican tortas back then.

"I think that the way the economy is, our timing couldn't be better," Veytia said.

Luis Perez can be reached at [email protected] or 727-892-2271.

Red Mesa's downtown Cantina will have a menu that knows no borders 12/16/08 [Last modified: Thursday, December 18, 2008 12:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]