Today, James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock is opening his first restaurant in Atlanta and the second location for his casual Mexican concept, Minero. The restaurant, also owned by Neighborhood Dining Group, is expected to unlock its doors today at 11 a.m., adding to a growing roster of debuts in the food hall at Ponce City Market, located at 675 Ponce De Leon Ave., NE in Atlanta. Hours of operation are Sunday to Thursday – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Minero is all about Mexican street food, with special attention to tacos – and anything else that calls for a corn tortilla. Minero makes its own tortillas from scratch using corn from Masienda, Geechie Boy Mill and Anson Mills. The tortillas serve as the base for some half-dozen tacos, as well as chilaquiles (fried tortilla wedges smothered with beans and pork, crema, salsa, queso fresco, avocado and a fried egg)and a mula (think: a filled, folded taco that gets quesadilla treatment). They are also available with guacamole or a trio of salsas: verde, spicy árbol and the sesame seed-like benne. Other dishes on the tight menu include queso fundido, chicken wings in Valentina-brand hot sauce, a torta del día and sides of beans, arroz verde and escabeche (pickled) vegetables.
Among beverages, look for a dozen Mexican-inspired cocktails, bottled and canned beer that ranges from low brow (Miller High Life) to high (Delirium Tremens by Belgian’s Huyghe Brewery) and a selection of 10 wines, all available by both the glass and bottle. Teetotalers can pick from horchata, agua fresca and Mexican soda Jarritos, among others.
The industrial feel of the space is softened by rustic, wood tabletops, an open kitchen and an orange palette of tiled walls. Minero offers seating for 60 in the main dining area and the bar, plus another 70 seats on the outdoor patio. The restaurant will not take reservations.
Those smitten with a big name like Brock can look for him to be a fixture during the restaurant’s opening weeks. Ultimately, he’ll hand over the reins to chef de cuisine Jorge Ortiz. Ortiz, who is from Atlanta, also helped Brock open Minero in Charleston, S.C.
Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect when Minero opens its doors.
Minero offers half a dozen tacos, served on housemade tortillas. Pictured here, clockwise from bottom, are: al pastor with pineapple and a drizzle of avocado puree; pork carnitas with salsa verde and chilmole (a thin, black mole-type sauce made with burnt chiles and onions); and green chorizo with potatoes and grilled onions. (Becky Stein Photography)
More of Minero’s taco offerings include, clockwise from top: grilled steak that holds heirloom peppers, pickled vegetables and queso fresco; fried catfish with cabbage red onion and pickled tomato tartar; and charcoaled chicken topped with pickled red onion, cotija cheese and a smoked hot chile pepper known as pasilla de Oaxaca. (Becky Stein Photography)
Hungry diners can fill up on chilaquiles, a dish of fried tortilla wedges smothered with beans and pork, crema, salsa, queso fresco, avocado and a fried egg. (Becky Stein Photography)
The hefty Minero burrito holds exacting layers of Hoppin’ John, rice, sliced avocado, poblano pepper and crema. Cheese encrusts the outside of the toasted burrito, which is served tightly wrapped in foil. (Becky Stein Photography)