March 28, 2017 – It’s an old truism that popular restaurants tend to stick with the formula that made them famous. But then Gabe Georis has never followed the norm. And so it was recently when he announced the start of something completely different for Mundaka, the beloved Spanish-style tapas restaurant in Carmel that he started in 2009 with chef Brandon Miller.
“I’m used to people telling me that I’m crazy,” says Georis with a laugh, adding that after eight years, “It’s time to change things up.”
Georis founded Mundaka after traveling and surfing in Spain, but now that he has small children, he says it’s tougher to visit for inspiration. Plus, he points out, change is good: “I had to do something new.”
And so Mundaka will close after service on Saturday, April 22, but the space will be reborn as Pescadero—with Georis anticipating a start date of May 5—Cinco de Mayo. The restaurant reinvention will zero in on Baja for inspiration, with the menu featuring rustic food made with “really good ingredients,” says Georis, new décor, and a new bar lineup as well. Just as with Mundaka, ingredients will be organic and locally sourced whenever possible.
And although Pescadero has a literal meaning—it’s Spanish for “fisherman” or “fishmonger”—it has a different resonance for Georis, who says he named his reinvented restaurant for Pebble Beach’s Pescadero Point. It’s a legendary big-wave spot that local surfers like Georis revere.
Georis, who has been traveling to Baja since the 1990s, says that he and Miller are now busy hammering out the details of the new concept.
The interior of the 80-seat space will be changed up as well, although Georis notes that it’s not a remodel—“The space lends itself to be changeable.” (The Georis-owned Barmel, next door to Mundaka, will remain the same although revamping of its menu is also planned.)
Dishes are now being tested on the Mundaka bar menu, says Georis, and fish tacos will definitely be a staple of the new restaurant. Also being contemplated are homemade enchiladas and seafood chile rellanos.
As for the bar, the intention is to bring in a selection of Baja coastal and inland wines, and of course, tequilas. “We’ll focus on tequila and variations on margaritas,” says Georis.
The hours will change as well, with both lunch and dinner offered, with hours from 12-9pm, with a break from 3-5pm, Georis says. (Until now, the restaurant only offered dinner.)
Given the name, you’d expect an emphasis on seafood, and Georis and Miller are busily sourcing abalone, oysters, and other ingredients that give that Baja flair.
“Mexican food is an underappreciated cuisine. It’s as interesting and complex as French cooking,” says Georis.
More information will be coming soon, so keep watching the Mundaka Facebook page and website as well as this newsletter as the reinvention takes shape.