A local restaurant group has opened a “pre-Hispanic” restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids-based CDKI Holdings opened its third restaurant, MeXo (pronounced “Mezzo,” as in Mesoamerican) this spring in the former Brian’s Books space, at 114 Fulton St. E.
The company — which also owns Zoko 822 in Grand Rapids and Sandy Point Beach House in West Olive — plans to host a formal grand opening with food and cocktails on July 3 at 2 p.m.
MeXo is fusion of pre-Hispanic, Mesoamerican culture and modern Mexican cuisine and is the brainchild of Executive Chef Oscar Moreno, who was hired by CDKI to develop the concept.
“We have been preparing to bring Chef Oscar’s flavors to Grand Rapids for some time now,” said Geoff Gaskin, president, CDKI Dining. “We’re excited to show off his talent and have our guests be amazed by his influences.”
Process and menu
Most of the ingredients for Moreno’s recipes are imported from Mexico or locally sourced as available.
MeXo grows many of its herbs on-site in a lower-level greenhouse visible from the restaurant entrance. Moreno uses “authentic processes and utensils” in the kitchen, including an in-house mill to grind corn.
Pre-Hispanic dishes on the menu include caldo de piedra, or stone soup, historically prepared by men in the Oaxaca region of Mexico who would spend the day fishing, collecting stones and preparing a fire in order to make the soup for the community.
At MeXo, guests can watch tableside as the server removes the river rock from the boiling soup.
Other dishes include ceviche, moles, cuitlacoche and a variety of soups and salads. The menu includes a glossary of terms and translations for those new to the style of cooking.
The restaurant serves more than a hundred varieties of straight tequila and mezcal, as well a selection of cocktails, wine and beer.