When Kenneth Monfort and Mitch Harber took over the space at 2200 Market Street and opened i-Fish Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar, they planned on using about 2,000 square feet of the spot for private, Japanese-style dining. But after a year in business, the partners decided to scratch that idea.
"We realized we're more of a neighborhood spot and that no one would be interested in private dining," explains Harber, "so we started to think of other ways to use the extra space."
Their decision? To open Chino Latino: a street taco and tequila joint.
"We figured, why not open a new restaurant altogether, since our kitchen was being underutilized because we're doing sushi?" says Harber. "And we thought a street-taco place would be a great fit for the neighborhood."
Chino Latino opened its doors at the start of the month and is still in a soft-opening phase. "It's been fun so far," Harber says. "We're taking our time, though: getting the kitchen up to speed, growing our tequila selection and playing with the hours."
Harber plans to stay open late at night once things do get up to speed. "There are a ton of bars around here, and not many food options past midnight," he notes, "but we don't want to wear the staff out, so we'll probably be open till midnight on weekends and take it to 2 a.m. shortly."
As for the menu, "We definitely want to keep the tacos simple and authentic and offer drinkable, affordable tequila," he says. "Although we do have some high-end options."
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Chino Latino is now open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., with flexible hours on the weekends; check the Facebook page for more information.