Fares Hanna, owner of Gregoria’s Cuban Steakhouse in Durham, is closing the restaurant on July 3 and plans to reopen it two weeks later as Mesa Latin Kitchen. Changes to the dining room will include the addition of windows to give the space a brighter, airier feel. The colorful courtyard patio will remain.
By far the biggest change will be the new menu.
“We’ll still have Cuban dishes,” Hanna says, “but we want to broaden our appeal.” To that end, he has partnered with chef Douglas Rodriguez, the nationally acclaimed “Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine,” to develop an inventive offering that embraces the full spectrum of Latin flavors.
On the menu, that translates to a small plates offering that includes smoked tuna taquitos, Cuban sliders with pork belly and chorizo, and escalivada, a Catalan salad of roasted marinated eggplant, onions, peppers and tomatoes. The entree offering is similarly diverse, with options ranging from rib-eye churrasco to seafood rice with shrimp, crab, mussels and coconut crema. Hanna is especially excited about chef Rodriguez’s contemporary takes on the Cuban classics, vaca frita and ropa vieja.
Scheduled to open on July 17, Mesa Latin Kitchen (2701 Hillsborough Road, Durham; 919-973-2717; mesalatinkitchen.com) will serve dinner every night but Monday, and brunch on Sundays. Lunch service is slated to be added in September.