I was in a car on my way to Austin, tweeting about kolaches and blissfully ignoring my work email, when the DMN story on Monica's Aca y Alla popped up on my phone. I promised myself I wouldn't work while I was gone, but couldn't resist the temptation to at least skim the piece.
Long story short: Monica Greene is ditching the Deep Ellum restaurant that made her popular to open a new spot in Oak Lawn, dangerously close to the Observer. Monica's new restaurant, Monica's Nueva Cocina, will move into the old Sushi Axiom space on Cedar Springs Avenue, which shuttered in April.
On Sunday, unable to let go of my vacation, I stopped into Monica's old spot on Commerce Avenue, to have a couple of margaritas, a couple of Bohemia beers and a shot of Patrón. I spoke with Jose Sanchez, one of the managers who has bought into the Monica's space and hopes to keep business steady in Monica's wake.
The new restaurant will go by Maracas Mexican Restaurant, and Sanchez hopes a very brief closure will help his team spruce up the place. They're looking at brightening up the interior paint, installing some new art and possibly opening up a wall to expose a patio space large enough for 60 people on the side of the building.
Sanchez claims the menu will stay exactly the same. Monica Green is leaving her old kitchen staff intact and employing Hector Hernandez to run the show in Oak Lawn, so for now it looks like those boozy 'ritas, bloody marys and enchilada lasagnas that have kept Deep Ellum happy for 20 years are safe.
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Meanwhile, everyone in Oak Lawn will soon have a Monica's closer to home.