Red Mesa Group, a family-owned collection of concepts bringing regional Mexican to the St. Petersburg community for nearly 30 years, will expand to Pasadena with a second Mercado location in 2024. Its plans beyond that include continued expansion of the Mercado concept across other neighborhoods in Pinellas County.
Renderings showcase plans for the Pasadena restaurant, located at 6001 Central Ave. and offering 250 seats and 80 parking spaces. Attached will also be a 20-person freestanding full-liquor bar, an addition driven by the group’s cocktail-forward vision for the Mercado brand.
Red Mesa Mercado offers family recipes with Cali-Mex and old-world Mexican flavors, including best-sellers like the Shrimp Tacos, Cali Burrito and Plantain Bowl. The fast-paced outdoor eatery also includes a full-liquor bar. The group’s original Mercado location opened in 2014 at 1100 1st Ave. N. in St. Pete’s Edge District. The Mercado concept allows for reproducibility with its simple, from-scratch menu and casual-dining atmosphere.
Chief Operating Officer Pete Veytia III and his team were drawn to the space formerly home to Two Graces for its 1950s architecture, citing that the building’s ‘Palm Springs feel’ has ties to his mother’s upbringing in Southern California—a major inspiration behind the Mercado brand’s origin.
“We try to build food destinations, and Mercado is—without a doubt—the concept we developed to be replicated,” said Veytia. “We look forward to debuting a truly unique space that allows us to stay true to our roots while continuing to meet the community where they are with this concept.”
Since the opening of the first concept Red Mesa Restaurant in 1995, the brand has expanded its footprint across the St. Petersburg community with additional concepts like Red Mesa Cantina, Red Mesa Mercado and even Quatro, a stationary food truck dishing out Americana cuisine with a St. Pete spin. The group has also grown its offerings to include a full-service event venue and catering services.
The group’s potential to expand is due largely in part to its market-specific business model and continuous efforts to boost efficiency. Though Red Mesa Group felt many of the effects of the pandemic, it also catalyzed a season of growth for the business in the reevaluating of kitchen operations, strategic adaptations of its menus and creation of several new in-house roles and departments to streamline operations.
“A key driver of the impressive talent we’ve been able to bring in is our shared vision of expanding and improving one dish at a time,” said Veytia. “This team is hungry and recognizes that growth for the brand translates to innumerable opportunities for growth in their careers.”
In just the last five years alone, the group has brought Maintenance, Advertising, Marketing, Purchasing, Logistics and Human Resources in house, promoting employees from inside the company to fill necessary positions.
Pending permitting and approvals, construction for the second Red Mesa Mercado is expected to begin in October.
About Red Mesa Group
Red Mesa Group is committed to making mindful business decisions that connect the flavors of its family, the prosperity of its team members and purveyors and the enrichment of its communities. The group currently owns and operates Red Mesa Restaurant, Red Mesa Cantina, Red Mesa Mercado and Red Mesa Quatro, along with comprehensive event and catering offerings. Its restaurants have been a St. Petersburg dining tradition since 1981, having grown from one of the first Mexican restaurants in St. Petersburg to a critically acclaimed restaurant group routinely hailed as among the top tables in the city. Always innovating and always updating, Red Mesa Group has served generations of families and is a communal place to celebrate special occasions and every day with food, friends and family. For more information, visit www.redmesagroup.com.