Let's taco about region's new Mexican restaurant
POPULAR Suffolk Park cafe, Tullys, has closed its doors to make way for an exciting new 60-seat Mexican restaurant set to open next month.
Chef Evan White and his partner Amelia Stokes have teamed up with the owners of restaurants Harvest Newrybar and Barrio Byron Bay to open a new authentic taqueria called Chupacabra.
Chupacabra was the name of a mythical animal in Central and South American folklore and translates to "goat-sucker".
"He has a great little story if you read into it and we liked the name as a conversation starter, and the reference to a sneaky demon. Plus he makes for a great logo," Mr White said.
Mr White has been mastering the art of authentic Mexican food for many years now and was looking forward to sharing his creations with the Byron Bay palate.
"For me, the hope to open an authentic Mexican venue has been in the works for over a decade, it's just taken a while to realise that Byron Shire was the place to do it," he said.
"We bought the business from two local boys who built it into a successful cafe from the absolute ground up.
"They are both still involved in the business with us which we are so happy about, too."
The atmosphere, style and food will be relaxed, fresh and bright to reflect the chilled lifestyle found in both Byron Bay and coastal Oaxana.
"This venue will have a focus on traditional Mexican food, rather than the more Tex-Mex style that we already love in Australia," Mr White said.
"All that means is that flavours will be light, fresh and vibrant, and have more of a coastal feel.
"We are channelling the beaches of Mexico, which are amazingly similar to Byron Bay, so the atmosphere, style and food will be relaxed and fresh."
The menu will feature slow 'fast food' with all corn tortillas made in house daily.
Customers can expect dishes such as tacos al pastor with grilled pineapple, daily changing ceviche Mexicana, esquites (off-the-cob corn grilled and slathered with condiments), sharing plates from the asado (pollo, pulpo, pescado) and Chochinita pibil (slow cooked pork, sour orange, coriander, lime, pickled onion).
The cocktail list will feature a signature Chupacabra margarita on tap, a spin on the classical michelada and classics with a Mexican twist.
Of course you can't have a Mexican restaurant without a large list of traditional tequila and mezcal, and there will also be a concise wine list of local and international wine-makers.
For those after a non-alcoholic beverage, Chupacabra will have its own range of fresh pressed juices, home-made sodas and a special blend of Mexican coffee.
Mr White said the feedback from Suffolk Park locals has been overwhelmingly positive.
"There is a lot of buzz around the change in cuisine and the promise of night-time food," he said.
"The only concerns have been regarding our short renovation close time, people need their coffee!"
He anticipates they will be ready to open as soon as July 6.
"We can't wait to continue to build a local following here in Suffolk, we want residents of all ages and backgrounds to be able to enjoy 'Chupa'," Mr White said.
Breakfast and Lunch: Monday - Saturday 7am-11am / 11am-3pm
Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday 5:30pm-10pm
Where: Shop 12a, 3 Clifford Street, Suffolk Park, Byron Bay.
www.chupacabra.com.au / @chupabyron