Washington Charles is no stranger to Mexican flavors. The cofounder of Taquiza, Masa, and the Grdn has opened his latest concept, El Grito, which Charles hopes to capture the attention of industry folks.
The mezcaleria-style bar/eatery is now open at the original Burger & Beer Joint location, at 1766 Bay Rd. in Miami Beach's Sunset Harbour neighborhood. For this venture, Charles teamed up with his friend Antar Sosa of Redbar in Brickell. They both chose the location because of the memories. Charles says, “It was a local spot seven or plus years ago. I remember coming here after work every single night, and I would catch up with my industry friends, which is the reason why we decided to obtain this place.”
The partners agree they aren’t changing the Miami dining scene; they see El Grito as another option to this scene. They duo also brought on Ezra Pattek, former partner of Bar Lab and member of the Bon Vivants, to head the cocktail program. Pattek has spent the past five years working with Tequila Ocho, Ancho Reyes, and Pierde Almas mezcal. El Grito has 80 mezcals and tequilas, and the selection will grow over time. Pattek says, “It's not so much about how many agave spirits we carry, rather the producers and production methods of the agave spirits we choose to offer.”
Pattek's favorite drink is the Tepache, a street-style fermented pineapple libation (think Kombucha) that’s made in-house and spiked with a choice of tequila, mezcal, or ancho chile liqueur. Cocktails are reasonably priced between $8 and $12, with beer at $4.
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This is Charles’ second Mexican-driven concept; however, the menu here is not as large as Taquiza's. His love for Mexican cuisine began with his interest in spices; his mother ground all of her own spices the old-school way. Even though El Grito is different from Taquiza, its masa is incorporated in dishes such as discade nachos ($12), featuring chips made with masa, ground beef, chorizo, bacon, cheddar, and jalapeños. El Grito also offers burritos such as pollo en mole ($10), made with house-made mole, toasted sesame seeds, and avocados. Because the eatery is around the corner from Flywheel, Barry’s Bootcamp, and Anatomy 220, there will be healthy options for postworkout fuel, including salads and gluten-free tortilla shells.
According to Charles, this will be a big year, with an expansion of Taquiza on the horizon. Though he doesn't divulge details, he mentions the target city: “For sure in New York.”
Open for dinner and late-night Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.. Lunch service is in the works for February, and happy hour is on the way.