Mercadito in Midtown on the Happy Hour Hunt

The Place: Mercadito
3252 NE 1st Ave., Midtown
786-369-0430 mercaditorestaurants.com

The Hours: Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

The Deals: All beers are $3 and select wines are $5. The Traditional Margarita, The Pepino El Pyu (tequila blanco, cucumber, lemon, hoja santa, & cumin salt), and The Little Market Margarita (tequila reposado, fresh pineapple, chile guajillo, & pico piquín) are all $6. The food items include select guacamoles for $5 and a two-taco order for $6. Guests must sit at the bar or in the indoor/outdoor lounge area to receive the happy hour deals.

Follow the jump to get a feel for the scene.

The Scene: Mercadito is among the slew of trendy and tasty restaurants popping up in Midtown. The interior's decor is a mix of neutral basics (the walls, the tables, & the chairs) contrasted by vibrant, colorful murals of a mariachi band and Mexico's legendary eagle and snake. The space also boasts natural touches like fresh plants, basket lamps, and wood ceilings. The outdoor lounge keeps things simple with comfy sofas and quirky, orange mini-chairs.

Initially, my happy hour brigade and I were not sure if happy hour took place at Mercadito or the neighboring Taqueria. We tried Taqueria first and after moving tables twice, we were told that it was next door. Back at Mercadito, we opted to sit in the outdoor lounge. The bar and indoor area were almost full despite our midweek visit.

The wait staff was naturally friendly but also slightly clueless; it took three different people to tell me what was included in the happy hour special. The uniquely flavored foods combined with refreshing drinks saved face for the faults. Tacos with sweet potatoes and guacamole with pineapple were solid. The chips, though fresh and crispy, were overly salted.

Conclusion: Though some aspects were hit and miss, the ambiance and variety left us all curious for more. The 6:30 p.m. end time feels awkward and may throw people off a bit.

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