Aug 2, 2023 - Food and Drink

First look: Mexican restaurant Puerta opens in the former Stanley space in Elizabeth

The bar at Puerta in Elizabeth.

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

The team behind The Crunkleton will open a Mexican restaurant in The Stanley’s former spot in Elizabeth.

Driving the news: The restaurant, called Puerta, opens Friday, Aug. 11.

Why it matters: It’s a busy time of expansion for 1957 Hospitality Group. They’re opening another Crunkleton in Raleigh, and they recently opened a new restaurant, Rosemont Market and Wine Bar, across the street from the original Crunkleton in Elizabeth.

The menu: Puerta’s menu is inspired by various regions in Mexico and includes dips and salsas, soups, salads, empanadas, pork belly chicharron, entrees and seven tacos ($7 each or a $16 taco plate which includes rice and beans).

  • Desserts ($12 each) include a quarto leches cake and churros.
  • Puerta’s tortillas will be hand-pressed daily.
  • Tequila will be the focal point of the drink menu — there will be five margaritas and six signature cocktails when the restaurant first opens. There’s also a frozen margarita machine, which will serve a hibiscus margarita to start. Cocktails will be $15 on average.

Details: The space fits roughly 100 people, 25 of whom can be seated on the outdoor patio facing 7th Street. The team redesigned the patio so that it is no longer the front entrance, allowing them to seat more people there, Ryan Hart, 1957 Hospitality beverage director and head of concept development, tells Axios.

  • Guests will instead enter off Pecan Avenue through a distinct door. They’ll walk through the mezcal lounge, where Puerta’s second bar is, before entering the main dining room, which also includes a bar
  • Puerta’s team includes executive chef RJ Corley and bar manager Micah Yarbrough (both are alumni of The Crunkleton) and chef de cuisine Cristian Villalvazo and Diana Tornez.
  • The address is 1961 E. 7th St. Puerta will be open Sunday through Tuesday from 5pm-12am and Wednesday through Saturday 5pm-2am. Reservations for dinner are available until 11pm.
Puerta's front door off Pecan Avenue. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Puerta’s front door off Pecan Avenue. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

What they’re saying: “I just want a place to take a date and a friend,” says Puerta general manager Phi Hoang, who used to work at The Crunkleton with Hart.

My thought bubble: We’ve seen y’all in our Instagram comments complaining about another Mexican restaurant in Charlotte, so I asked Hart and Hoang why they chose Mexican cuisine. The goal was to bring something to the neighborhood that wasn’t there, they told me.

Flashback: Two-time James Beard Award-nominated chef Paul Verica closed The Stanley in May 2022.

Take a look around. 

Puerta salsa trio, empanadas, chipotle short rib, pork belly chicharron and a cafe expres cocktail.
Puerta salsa trio, empanadas, chipotle short rib, pork belly chicharron and a cafe expres cocktail. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Puerta short rib
Chipotle short rib ($40). Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Puerta dining room
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Mezcal lounge
Mezcal lounge. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Puerta hallway.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Puerta patio
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Puerta in Elizabeth.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Editor’s note: This story was first published in October 2022 and was updated in July 2023 to reflect the restaurant’s opening date. 

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Charlotte.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Charlotte stories

No stories could be found

Charlottepostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Charlotte.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more