Mixing Cajun and Tex-Mex on a menu that features po’boys and fajitas, crawfish étouffée and verde chicken enchiladas, daiquiris and margaritas, Dos Bocas opened in mid-September in the former Legal Sea Foods space on Baker Street in Atlanta’s Centennial Park District.
The new project adjoining the Hilton Garden Inn is from Legacy Ventures, the Atlanta-based restaurant, hotel and development company behind several other downtown restaurants, including Der Biergarten, Max’s Coal Oven Pizza, STATS Brewpub, and Twin Smokers BBQ.
Dos Bocas is “two mouths” in Spanish, and the food, drink and design reflect that duality. The concept was the big idea of Legacy’s chief operating officer, Brian Bullock, who spent some time overseeing Houston’s restaurants in New Orleans and Houston, and learned to love the food of East Texas, Southwest Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast.
Bullock enlisted vice president of culinary Christopher Blobaum and corporate chef Matt Decker for an epic road trip through the region, where they took in New Orleans restaurants and San Antonio taco stands, along with roadside daiquiri shacks and truck stops.
That all shows up in starters like fried oysters with remoulade and shrimp and crab campechana, soups like chicken and andouille gumbo and pozole rojo, and entrees like dueling Cajun and Tex-Mex takes on redfish, plus a variety of tacos, and a limited release NOLA-style muffuletta sandwich.
Drinks run a similar course, with classics like the Sazerac and the Paloma on the cocktail menu. But the Roadside Cantarita is the house cocktail. Dubbed “Jalisco’s own roadside punch,” it’s mixed with El Jimador tequila, fresh citrus, soda and a touch of salt, and served in a signature 22-ounce handmade clay mug.
Legacy Ventures worked with ASD|SKY on the design for the 8,000-square-foot renovation, which is split between two levels, and includes a second-story patio and balcony with views of the surrounding Atlanta skyline.
The downstairs dining area has the feel of a cantina, and is open for lunch. Upstairs, the open kitchen, and large bar, dining room, and event space are more in tune with a traditional Tex-Mex restaurant.
Last week during lunch, Bullock took a seat at the downstairs bar to talk about Dos Bocas.
“I used to run a company called Border Cafe Restaurants out of Boston, which is Cajun and Tex-Mex, and I’ve always loved the concept, so we decided to do it here,” Bullock said. “The concept of Cajun Tex-Mex is a little off to some people. But if you really think about it, Lafayette to Houston is a three-hour drive, and that’s the epicenter of both cuisines.
“This was a cross between what we really thought downtown needed. We don’t have great Mexican, and we don’t have any Cajun. We thought it was something that conventioneers and event people wanted. We really walked through that program with them before we decided to move forward. We worked on it for six or seven months, tweaking and honing the menu, and came up with something we really liked. Overall, we’ve had a really good first few weeks.”
Talking about the space, Bullock touted the patio, and the interior design.
“I think we have as beautiful a patio as you can have. It overlooks Centennial Olympic Park, and it’s just really, really nice. One thing we’ve always really tried to do is keep everything we do down here authentic, and keep it local, and something different. We did a lot of testing on this, and we brought in a lot of people. I love the two-story design ASD came up with.
“They sort of enclosed the windows a little bit, and closed it off to the hotel a little bit. The furniture they picked was great in breaking up the space. My favorite place to sip tequila in all of downtown is the back corner downstairs. That’s my tequila corner. It’s just these comfortable chairs. And at night, you can just sit back and relax and enjoy it all.”
275 Baker St. NW, Atlanta. 404-704-8078, dosbocasatl.com.
Scroll down for more images from a First Look at Dos Bocas in Atlanta’s Centennial Park District
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