Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Poblano’s Mexican Grill is bringing authentic Mexican food to North Chattanooga, offering dishes cooks at typical Mexican restaurants in the United States make when they get home, according to owner Steve Hyde.
Diners will notice when browsing Poblano’s menu the lack of ground beef, which Hyde said is not used in authentic Mexican dishes.
“We offer very traditional items generally not found at other Mexican restaurants,” he said. “You get a well-rounded dinner experience with the deck and patio area, and it’s a great place to eat and experience Mexican food like you never have before.”
Instead of ground beef, Poblano’s serves a range of more authentic meat options such as spicy chorizo sausage or Hyde’s pick, shredded chicken with mole sauce. The unique brown sauce has lots of spices and medium heat derived from chilies mixed with puréed peanuts and Mexican chocolate.
A popular dish among clientele thus far is the Burrito Poblano, which features a special secret cream sauce that sets it apart from the standard burrito, said Poblano’s co-owner Irma Hyde. She personally likes the gorditas, which she said are very popular in Mexico due to their affordability and versatility in options for fillings.
The restaurant’s signature dish — also one of her favorites — is the chili relleno, a poblano chili pepper stuffed with Cotija cheese, dipped in egg batter and fried.
All menu items are made with fresh ingredients and tortilla chips are made in-house, said Irma Hyde. One of her cousins operates two Dalton grocery stores, one of which had a restaurant attached. When her husband, Steve Hyde, was laid off from his job as operations director of Covenant Transport, they decided to use the space to open an authentic Mexican restaurant, as the area’s residents are predominantly Hispanic.
The couple opened their first restaurant, La Providencia, in Dalton about a year and a half ago.
“We like the restaurant business, but we didn’t like the location. We always wanted to open a location in Chattanooga,” said Irma Hyde, and when they began looking into businesses on the city’s North Shore, they realized the area was missing a source for authentic Mexican fare, she added.
The Hydes said they came across their current location (formerly Pisa Pizza) by chance as they were leaving their Realtor’s office after making a wrong turn as they headed to Coolidge Park for lunch. They saw the building was for lease and felt it was the perfect spot.
The restaurant now seats 45 outdoors, as the Hydes have expanded the building’s covered porch and added an open deck.
“We’re very happy to be a part of the North Shore community,” said Irma Hyde of her and her husband, longtime Chattanooga residents who recently moved to Ringgold. “All of the neighbors have been very welcoming.”
She said they were striving for an atmosphere that feels as comfortable for family dinners as it does for a business lunch or happy hour with friends, which they feel they have accomplished judging by the number of guests who seem to want to hang out after finishing their meals.
While the restaurant is still in the process of acquiring its liquor license; it currently offers 22 beers, including an abundance of Mexican varieties. Poblano’s will have a full range of alcoholic beverages within the next few weeks, featuring mainly margaritas. Specialty cocktails will include unique offerings such as the Chili Guava, made with chili-infused tequila, triple sec, guava nectar, orange and lime juice; or the Bloody Maria, also made with chili-infused tequila, but with bloody mary mix and a pickled jalapeno.
Happy hour is held from 4-7 p.m. daily, with a different appetizer special each day. The restaurant opens at noon on Sundays and features specials on mimosas and other surprise drink deals.