A Gainesville native wants to bring a more modern take on Tex-Mex dining to downtown ... eventually.
Real estate developer and restaurateur Uriel Arellano says he is bringing a Tex-Mex-style restaurant to the property at 104 Main St., just a stone's throw from the square.
The property was previously a First National Bank branch.
Arellano, a Gainesville native and the developer behind City Mill Market, believes it will be a good location for his latest venture, the still unnamed restaurant.
“We want to make it a cool place to eat, to socialize and to hang out,” Arellano said. “The food has to be great, but the vibe is important, too.”
The menu will be small and consist of classic Tex-Mex dishes like tacos, fajitas, nachos and margaritas, said Arellano, who compared Atlanta-based restaurants like Superica and Humble Pie to the kind of laid-back dining atmospheres he wants to see on the square.
The restaurant doesn’t have a name yet, or a target opening date.
According to Arellano, the space is in need of a lot of interior and exterior construction.
“It is a very old building and we want to make the restaurant right,” Arellano said. “So honestly, it will take at least a year.”
Having grown up in a family that has been involved in the restaurant business since he was young, Arellano said this project is personal to him. It’s not just another restaurant opening, he said.
“Gainesville has been great to me and my family, I want to give something back to the city with this restaurant.” Arellano added, “We want to take our time with it.”
Arellano said the property’s proximity to the square was a big reason for opening a restaurant there. He said he has met with several architectural firms in Atlanta and envisions a ground floor patio, an open kitchen, terrace level and rooftop bar for the restaurant while maintaining some of the interior identity of the building. The brick, steel and wood inside could be used to create a “timeless look,” Arellano explained.
There will also be televisions on the patio, he said.
The most unique feature of the restaurant will be above the street, where a rooftop bar will face Main Street and offer views of the square below, “so people can see what’s going on outside,” Arellano said.
Another unique and original component will be a takeout margarita window for customers looking to get a drink while they are on the square.
“We want to make this place different from everything else on the square,” he said.