Sep 26, 2023 - Food and Drink

New Mexican restaurant El Malo to open in Plaza Midwood with speakeasy-style bar

El Malo rendering courtesy of southwick via Andre Lomeli

El Malo will be similar to traditional Tijuana-style taco shops like the ones you see in San Diego and other parts of Southern California. Attached to it will be its sister bar — appropriately called Hermanita.

El Malo will serve as the kitchen for Hermanita, offering late-night bites in Plaza Midwood. “There’ll be a pass-through window from El Malo to Hermanita for the food,” owner Andre Lomeli tells Axios.

Why it matters: Lomeli has a history of bringing Southern California food to Charlotte. His other restaurant, Taqueria Mal Pan in SouthPark, has some of the best burritos in North Carolina, according to Yelp. Its California burrito is a San Diego staple.

Mal Pan burrito
Owner Andre Lomeli says they’ll offer the Cali burrito available at Mal Pan at El Malo. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Menu: El Malo’s menu will consist of various tacos (al pastor and Tijuana-style birria tacos, to name a few), quesadillas, burritos, nachos and California fries. They’ll also serve vegetarian dishes and loaded potatoes, which are really popular in Tijuana, according to Lomeli.

  • The menu will be designed by Lomeli’s father, Rosendo Lomeli, who also designed the menu at Mal Pan, as CBJ first reported.
  • El Malo will also serve alcohol, and it’ll have a separate menu from Hermanita. At El Malo, you’ll find Mexican beers, micheladas (Mexican beer cocktails), margaritas on draft and boozy Jarrito slushies.
  • Hermanita’s cocktail menu will be mainly tequila and mezcal-based, but you’ll find cocktails with all sorts of liquor. “[We’ll have] sangritas, some miches (micheladas), cantaritos (a Mexican drink made with juices and tequila) with the clay pots,” Lomeli said.

Zoom in: Each space is about 1,400 square feet and the entrance to Hermanita will be through El Malo. “It’ll be very New York, or, speakeasy-style,” Lomeli said.

  • He hopes to open both El Malo and Hermanita at the end of March or beginning of April 2024.
El Malo
El Malo rendering courtesy of southwick via Andre Lomeli
El Malo
El Malo rendering courtesy of southwick via Andre Lomeli

Details: El Malo will be located at 1308 The Plaza, in the renovated Midwood Corners shopping center next to Dave’s Hot Chicken and Cold Hearted Gelato.

  • El Malo will be open from 11am-midnight and Hermanita will operate 4pm-2am daily.
hermanita
Hermanita rendering courtesy of southwick via Andre Lomeli
hermanita
Hermanita rendering courtesy of southwick via Andre Lomeli
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