Jason Chin always wanted to open a Mexican eatery, but he wanted to open one that went beyond serving the standard, everyday Tex-Mex fare. For the longest time, Chin felt Orlando wasn't quite ready for his type of Mexican joint, but not so anymore. Reyes Mezcaleria, his and wife Sue Chin's latest restaurant venture, tests locals' preconceived notions of Mexican food and drink.
"We felt the timing was right to bring this type of concept to our local community," says Chin of Reyes Mezcaleria. "Our locals are eager to try new things and not be stuck in the past. I don't think that even a couple of years ago anyone would have thought to open a 'mezcaleria' for fear that people wouldn't understand it, or give it a try, but now we can join the likes of Chicago, New York City, D.C., San Francisco and other foodie destinations that have enjoyed these types of establishments for years."
Yes, these are certainly heady times for Orlando's restaurant scene and the Chins see an opportunity to contribute by broadening the culinary landscape even further. "Because Orlando has matured as a food city, we can offer dishes and an overall style of cuisine that's historically different than what people are used to seeing," Jason says.
That maturation has fostered a spirit of embracing, not dismissing, food that challenges perceptions, and that spirit is what really gets the husband-and-wife team going. "Not everyone that comes through the doors is knowledgeable about mezcal, but almost everyone is eager to learn about it and give it try," he says, then adds: "I've seen Orlando grow quite a bit since moving here in 1990, but I'm really excited to see what the next five years bring." —FK
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