All systems are go for Orale Contemporary Mexican Kitchen's new bar and dining room, which opened this week in the space immediately next door to its Ohio City restaurant. Since August, chef and owner Roberto Rodriguez has been busy constructing a new bar, dining room and bathrooms, to go along with his new liquor license. A large arching doorway connects the two spaces.
Rodriguez opened his popular Mexican foods stand Orale at the West Side Market back in 1999. Building on that reputation, Rodriguez transformed his Ohio City production kitchen into a full-service restaurant two years ago. Since that time, he watched as the street developed into a full blown entertainment district, forcing him to adapt along with it.
"Everybody on the street has a bar," he says. "We need to be able to compete and complement with the rest of the street. Unfortunately at times, since we don't have margaritas, customers just leave."
In addition to various margaritas, mojitos and Mexican beers, there are specialty cocktails like spiced horchata with rum, Bloody Maria with housemade salsa, and a Sidecar made with aged tequila. A new bar menu features booze-friendly snacks like fried tamales, queso fundito and chimichurri-steamed mussels.
Orale will be hosting an open house from 8 to 11 p.m. on November 26, with free food samples from the new bar menu and a cash bar.