Third times a charm? New restaurant set to open on MV highway

Weather permitting, Mezcal Fresh Mexican Grill opens Thursday, Feb. 7

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to remove the title listed for Francisco Lopez as owner. According to the Washington State Department of Revenue, Chil Soon Park is listed as governing person for Mezcal Fresh Mexican Grill. Monica Lopez said they were unable to comment, and unable to clarify Francisco’s title. On his business card, Francisco Lopez is listed as owner. The article has also been updated to include Mezcal’s working website.

The former NYP Bar and Grill and Limestone location on Maple Valley Highway is opening a new restaurant with a modern, healthy look on a traditional taste that they hope sets them apart.

The Mezcal Fresh Mexican Grill, was scheduled to open Thursday, Feb. 7, weather permitting. They struggled with the few days of snow earlier in the week — many of his employees come from outside Renton and Francisco Lopez wanted to prioritize their safety.

He and his wife, Monica Lopez, live in Seattle and are here to bring a fresh look to Renton’s Mexican restaurant scene.

He said he wants to not only introduce Renton folks to new dishes they might not have experienced, but also provide healthy ingredients.

The menu features familiar Mexican restaurant dishes like enchiladas and burritos, but Francisco wants to continue to expand customer’s ideas on Mexican cuisine, offering specials that are straight from Oaxaca, the Yucatan Peninsula and Michoacan.

Some menu items include Mexican ancestral dishes, like “a 1,000 year old Mayan pork favorite” Cochinita Pibil and Mezcal Mole, which was founded in Oaxaca.

He also said they include the word “fresh” in the name because they offer healthier, locally sourced products including cage free chicken, natural beef from Oregon, and Alaskan seafood that Lopez says is all from the Pacific Northwest.

“That’s our goal: invite healthy eaters here who can try spicy, healthy and tasty,” Lopez said. “That’s the Mezcal mark.”

True to the name, he also wanted to bring the Mezcal to drinks on the menu. The smoky distilled spirit that comes from agave plants is found in some of the signature cocktails.

Lopez has been working in the restaurant industry for over 25 years. He’s drawn to the kitchen side of things, but he’s had this concept for a long time.

It’s been a family affair for him: his family is from Oaxaca, home of “one of the most popular cuisines in the world,” he said.

His family has pursued sharing that cuisine in Washington, and finally he found the opportunity at Cedar River Station to begin his own restaurant.

Lopez said they began moving things in the week before Limestone had even closed. He said they knew their work was cut out for them to renovate.

“I tried to get something different from the old building, and old Mexican restaurants around,” Francisco said. “I want something new.”

The atmosphere offers a more modern take on Mexican restaurants, Monica Lopez said. Instead of the more common yellow walls and handcraft tables, there’s a lot of greys and woods, there’s also a fireplace and palm trees.

The restaurant also features ten TV’s throughout, which will play Seahawks and Sounders games, and offer special drinks for those days as well.

The restaurant has a bar area, and family friendly sections with kids menus.

Lopez said he wants customers to feel at home at Mezcal Fresh Mexican Grill, that they can come in and know the staff. And, he hopes, they will try something fresh that they have to offer.

Mezcal has a website at mezcal.multiscreensite.com

The restaurant is located at 15279 Maple Valley Hwy, in Renton.

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