grbj - Group opens 'pre-Hispanic' restaurant downtown

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.


MeXo Brings First of Its Kind “Pre-Hispanic Modern Mexican” Dining Experience to Grand Rapids

MeXo Brings First of Its Kind “Pre-Hispanic Modern Mexican”Dining Experience to Grand Rapids

Unique restaurant opened in Downtown Grand Rapids on April 17, 2018

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (JUNE, 2018) - With Grand Rapids quickly becoming a dining hot spot, there are few restaurants that can still boast offering a truly unique dining experience to the area.  MeXo is one of those few.

MeXo (pronounced Mezzo), which opened its doors in April of 2018, is located in downtown Grand Rapids at 114 E. Fulton, in the former Brian’s Books building that was originally the home of the Carl Forslund Furniture Gallery.  

The name “MeXo” was created by combining the words Mesoamerica and Mexico.  As the name implies, MeXo is a fusion of the Pre-Hispanic, Mesoamerican culture and modern authentic Mexican cuisine.  

The mastermind behind this unique dining concept is award winning Chef Oscar Moreno.  Chef Oscar, who is a native of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, says that his recipes are inspired by the rich history and traditions of his native country along with his worldwide travels.

“We have been preparing to bring Chef Oscar’s flavors to Grand Rapids for some time now,” said Geoff Gaskin, president of CDKI Dining.  “We’re excited to show off his talent and have our guests be amazed by his influences.”

Most of the ingredients for Chef Oscar’s recipes are either imported directly from Mexico or locally sourced.  MeXo grows many of their own herbs onsite in a lower-level greenhouse which is visible upon entering the restaurant.  Only authentic processes and utensils are used in MeXo’s kitchen and an in-house mill is used to freshly grind the corn. 

Guests can experience genuine Pre-Hispanic inspired dishes like the Caldo de Piedra, or stone soup.  This dish was 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 offer the soup to the community as an expression of gratitude.  At MeXo, guests watch as the server removes the river rock from the boiling soup tableside.  This is just one of the many interactive dishes on MeXo’s menu that succeeds in adding cultural and historical components to the dining experience. 

All of the dishes on the MeXo menu are both flavorful and artful as Chef Oscar and his team treat each and every plate that leaves the kitchen like an award-winning masterpiece. 

While dining at MeXo, don’t be surprised to find Chef Oscar himself mingling among guests, explaining the dishes and ingredients, or telling childhood stories like that of his mother teaching him to prepare his first goat at the age of seven.   “We’re not just serving food,” Chef Oscar often says, “we’re serving memories.” 

 

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In addition to the unique cuisine, MeXo offers an equally unique cocktail menu, along with an extensive selection of tequila and mezcal.

“It was important to ensure that the bar program mirrored what Oscar is doing in the kitchen,” said General Manager, Drew Frerichs.  “The tequila and mezcal we chose for our bar are all traditionally made with sustainable practices.”

Frerichs and his staff are knowledgeable of the more than one hundred varieties and styles of tequila and mezcal and eager to guide guests through the vast list of these spirits.  MeXo also offers a selection of regionally influenced wine and beer.

MeXo has exciting plans for the future, including adding a five-course, themed tasting menu which will include exotic and historical ingredients, like crickets.  They also have plans to become the home for a West Michigan tequila club.

Mexo is currently serving lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, as well as brunch on Sundays.  The restaurant offers bar and traditional style seating in addition to a large, private area that is available for parties and events. 

MeXo’s parent restaurant group, CDKI Dining, is known for its popular West Olive based establishment, Sandy Point Beach House, a casual fine dining restaurant.  CDKI Dining also opened Zoko 822 in December of 2017 which is a Basque inspired restaurant located at 822 Ottawa Ave. in Grand Rapids. 

To stay up to date on the latest news regarding MeXo, everyone is invited to follow the restaurant on Facebook (MeXoGR), Twitter (@MeXoGR) and Instagram (@MeXoGR).

For more information about MeXo visit www.mexogr.com or call (616)828-4123.