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Authentic Mexican fare joins downtown Gainesville's food scene
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Consuelo, an authentic Mexican restaurant is open Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in downtown Gainesville just off the square on Bradford Street. The restaurant is owned by husband and wife team of Jose "Pepe" Perez and Abigail Guzman. - photo by Scott Rogers

Authentic Mexican cuisine, curated cocktails and a unique dining experience collide under one roof in downtown Gainesville.

Consuelo has opened just off the square at 112 Bradford St., featuring an 80-seat dining room and 30-foot bar behind which more than 50 tequilas and mezcals await concoction.

Among its varied menu offerings, patrons will find taquitos de papa, potato-filled flat taquitos served with lettuce, fresh tomato salsa and queso fresco; carne en su jugo, braised sliced skirt steak, tomatillos, beans, bacon and chorizo; pozole verde, a seasonal chicken, hominy and poblano broth; and, for dessert, empanadas dulces and arroz con leche.

Consuelo is named for the late grandmother of co-owner Pepe Perez, who brandished superb cooking skills and left behind a collection of beloved family recipes that were regularly savored around her 16-seat dining room table.

“She was very classy and sophisticated and elegant, but at the same time was able to get in the kitchen and throw on her apron and just cook all day,” said Abigail Guzman, Perez’s wife and business partner.

The restaurant’s menu is curated from Consuelo’s own recipe index, as well as Guzman’s and both the couple’s mothers.

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Consuelo, an authentic Mexican restaurant is open Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in downtown Gainesville just off the square on Bradford Street. The restaurant is owned by husband and wife team of Jose "Pepe" Perez and Abigail Guzman. - photo by Scott Rogers

Gainesville residents for 10 years and counting, Pepe hails from Guadalajara, Mexico, and Abigail is a first-generation Mexican-American. The couple are also the owners of Pristine Clean and Pristine Painting.

For Perez and Guzman, Consuelo is a longtime dream in the making — one that Gainesville’s gourmets have welcomed with open arms, Guzman said.

“We long yearned for something like this and really felt Gainesville was ready for something a little bit different,” Guzman said. “We’ve always had the vision — our concept, the floor plan, what we wanted to bring in a Mexican restaurant — and here it is.”

Dishes are prepared fresh daily, Guzman said, from house-made cocktail syrups and serrano-infused tequilas to homemade tortillas and made-to-order guacamole.

Enchiladas verdes — corn tortillas, chicken, lettuce, crema, queso fresco and tomato sauce — and Consuelo’s mole, made from dry peppers, nuts, seeds and chocolate over braised chicken and rice, have been amongst patrons’ favorite dishes thus far, Guzman said.

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Consuelo, an authentic Mexican restaurant is open Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in downtown Gainesville just off the square on Bradford Street. The restaurant is owned by husband and wife team of Jose "Pepe" Perez and Abigail Guzman. - photo by Scott Rogers

At Consuelo, patrons are invited to sit, sip and stay for a while, savoring an experience that’s designed to feel like home.

“We really want people to sit, have a cocktail, enjoy their dinner and stay for as long as they want,” Guzman said. “We are not trying to rush anybody out of here. We, as a family, tend to spend up to four or five hours at a restaurant — that’s what we’re used to. That’s important to us. People have said, ‘I feel at home, I feel comfortable here.’ We have a lot of Hispanic (patrons) come in and say, ‘This is like I’m eating at my grandma’s house. I feel like I’m back home.’”

Patrons can dine in from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 

Reservations, while not required, are recommended, and can be made online via SeatOn or by calling 470-703-0300.
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Consuelo, an authentic Mexican restaurant prepares to open Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, in downtown Gainesville just off the square on Bradford Street. The restaurant is owned by husband and wife team of Jose "Pepe" Perez and Abigail Guzman. - photo by Scott Rogers