Fidel Robles opened the upscale Mexican restaurant Cilantro, at 1703 Federal Boulevard, with his wife and two sons nearly two years ago. While that eatery is still going, Robles has teamed up with his cousin Camelia Robles, who owns La Machaca de Mi Amá and two El Coco Pirata locations with her husband, to partner on two new concepts on Broadway in properties owned by CoClubs owner Regas Christou.
By mid-June, the cousins will open Cabrón Carbon, a taqueria, at 1043 Broadway, the former home of Quijote’s Broadway and Luciano’s Pizza and Wings before that. In July, they'll open Camelia, which will serve modern Mexican cuisine in the building at 1055 Broadway that long housed the Living Room and, just before the pandemic, Jive Kitchen & Bar.
Fidel, who used to promote comedy and concerts around Denver, including some events at the Living Room, established a relationship with the CoClubs team about a decade ago. When he saw an opportunity to take over both spaces, he got his cousin involved, signed a deal with CoClubs in November, then started on renovations.
While Camelia is named after his cousin, Fidel says the moniker also refers to a flower. The restaurant will serve seafood and steaks, including wagyu, ribeye and filet mignon, with Mexican-based sides. More Mexican dishes, such as chiles en nogada (stuffed poblano chiles in walnut sauce), will be on the menu, along with moles and molcajetes — dishes served in a sizzling volcanic stone.
Meanwhile, the taqueria will serve street tacos on tortillas made fresh daily, including tacos al carbon and al pastor, with the meat cooked on the trompo (vertical rotisserie). “We're going to have different styles of tacos from different parts of Mexico,” Fidel says. “What's interesting is that everybody makes their own recipes, or they just specialize in one single way that they know how to make tacos. We’re bringing in people from different parts of Mexico to use their way of making tacos. So even though Mexico is the same country, they still make them different in different states.”
Since “cabrón” translates as “badass” in English, Fidel knows it could seem offensive depending on the way it’s used; that's why the the sign outside will say “Carbon Carbon” while “Cabrón Carbon” will be used inside as well as on the restaurant’s social media.
“You might appreciate the joke or the Mexican part of social talking with friends and stuff,” Fidel explains. “It's not offensive for us. But by law, we have to do [the front sign] that way.”
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