|The Mexican is a vibrant, quirky and beloved restaurant located on Macrossan St. On the menu you’ll discover inventive South American inspired dishes served with a good dose of humour and lashings of friendly service.|
Like most other businesses throughout the Shire, The Mexican is hard hit by the impact of coronavirus, and Editor Jayne checks in on how The Mexican owners Sarah and Jon are faring.
In a nutshell, how did you come to be operating the fabulous Mexican?
Jon is a Chef from Toronto, and Sarah is a Chef from the Yarra Valley who turned out to like eating and serving the food more than actually cooking it! We met working at Zinc in Port Douglas in 2006. We moved to Canada for a few years, got married in Savannah, Georgia in 2013. Then it was time to return home to Port Douglas and we have been back ever since. We’ve each been in hospitality for many years, working as managers and staff.
Jon and Sarah were overseas on a fabulous gastronomic adventure when they were called home to the delights of home-based quarantine while their business was forced to close under the government restrictions.
How was that for you both?
In one word, stressful. It was hard to believe it was actually happening. But once we were home, safe and sound we could start to relax. We have an amazing crew at The Mexican, so while we were locked up they took care of everything ‘on the ground’.
My sister, Emma took care of all our deliveries. She would drive to the back fence, put our shopping over the fence, retreat to her car. We would wave from the deck and collect our groceries when she was gone.
Did home isolation bring out any creative streaks in you? Do tell.
It did! We don’t usually get too much time at home so it was nice to be ‘forced’ to slow down. I have read more books in the last month than I did last year! We both tried our hand at watercolour, not much success there. Jon finally mastered the Rubik’s cube. We had a couple of late nights on FaceTime with a group of our close friends, trying to write a song together-again not a lot of success there, but it was great fun!
You must be itching to get back down to the business of keeping all your hangry customers buritto’ed and jalapeno’ed up?
We re-opened this week on Sarah’s birthday because I know that is the only present she wants!
What plans do you have in store for The Mexican?
We have a few things up the ol’ sleeve, so we will have to see what shakes over the next week or two. We plan on trying a few different ideas and sticking with what works. But the biggest surprise is going to be the POP UP SHOP that we are hosting in our ‘old’ dining room, stop by and take a look!
So, what should we be ordering?
Our new range of tortas are a must. They are a traditional Mexican sandwich but in true ‘The Mexican’ style we have put a little local spin on them.
What’s the “secret sauce” that makes The Mexican so irresistible?
We are not entirely sure. We just tried to create a place that we would want to go to with good music, $5 tequila shots ;-), excellent fresh food, fine dining knowledge and service in a casual atmosphere. It seems a lot of people like the same things we do!
Do you believe the impact of coronavirus provides any unforeseen opportunities for you and your business?
Yes, I do. Jon and I work hard year-round taking up a lot of heart, energy and time.
It becomes very hard to stop, step back and evaluate from the outside, so you just keep pushing, which is fine and it keeps us busy but this has forced us to stop. We have had a little time to look at our business and talk ideas, business plan and long term goals. By way of example, did somebody mention “Takeaway Margaritas”?
What do you most look forward to about getting back to business?
Seeing our staff! Being surrounded by a hard-working, positive and funny crew keeps us motivated to push that little harder.
Please indulge us with your answers to that age-old beloved topic, your Last Supper….
What would be your last meal on Earth?
SARAH: A selection of the best tacos off the streets of Mexico City. Al Pastor tacos from El Vilsito specifically. Sooo…. good.
JON: Pizza! It’s been my go-to food my whole life. As a celebration, as a comfort food and especially when you’ve had too much to drink. There is no bad time for pizza!
Where would you dine?
SARAH: Definitely more of a ‘drink’ than ‘dine’ but there’s an old dive bar in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC called Rudy’s. It is our first port of call whenever we are in New York. It has an old jukebox, booth seating covered in gaffer tape holding it together. A Corona and a shot of Tequila is $6 and you get a free hot dog with every round. I’ve nearly died there plenty of times… so seems fitting that it should be my last stand.
JON: Gaggan in Bangkok; we had a reservation here for my birthday in March but had to cancel when our trip was cut short.
Will there be music?
SARAH: Ladies only- Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton.
JON: Nirvana – MTV Unplugged in New York.
Who would you be dining with?
JON: I’d love to get my friends from Canada in the same place as my friends from Australia, I’m not sure many of us would survive that party!
Who would prepare the meal?
JON: Chef Thomas Keller. I would eat pretty much anything he told me to.
Thank you for your time, and best wishes for the success of “Take Me Home”.
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43 Macrossan St, Port Douglas Q 4877
Tel 07 40 99 4441