Kevin Marple

Regional Mexican

Raul Reyes’ Mesa Reincarnation, La Palapa del Sabor, Expected to Open January 15

The Jefferson Boulevard restaurant revival will be a more casual dining experience, but a few Mesa favorites remain.

Mesa is closed. Long live Mesa! Last August, after eight years of seafood enchiladas and pitch-perfect mole, Olga Sosa and Raul Reyes shuttered their Oak Cliff restaurant. But after a slight remodel—bright “ocean colors,” a few more TVs, a party-ready patio—the space at 118 West Jefferson Boulevard is set to unveil its next iteration: La Palapa del Sabor. 

The new restaurant will open on January 15. 

“Most people know we come from the coast and we do coastal cuisine,” says Reyes, who will run La Palapa 2.0 with Sosa, his now ex-wife. More specifically, the chef-owners will apply their authentic Mexican approach to Latin coastal cuisine. Expect more seafood dishes, more Mexican dishes, and a few undying Mesa standbys in a more casual setting than what it follows. (Reyes promises that Olga’s award-winning mole will remain.)

New to the menu will be quesadillas, flautas, fajitas crafted with an unmistakable Reyes touch—his focus on presentation and plating. If you ever dined at Mesa, this is probably building to a point: La Palapa del Sabor won’t skew fancy like its predecessor. Reyes says closing Mesa was complicated. It was a beloved place to be. But Reyes says he wants to make the space more casual to attract a wider swath of diners. “I think Mexicans felt it was too upscale,” says Reyes. So expect some nods to Mesa, but also some decided departures.

Last year, Raul and another partner converted a former mechanic shop on Davis Street into Ceviche Oyster Bar, a light, fun, seafood joint that would be right at home on the Gulf coast. La Palapa del Sabor, it seems, follows that more approachable trend, albeit with a broader menu than that of its cousin a mile north. 

Most notably, to Reyes at least, is returning to the kitchen with his ex-wife. “Me and Olga, we’re going to get back into the kitchen together…create together…because we make a great team,” he says. 

Reyes says exact hours are yet to be determined, but expect something similar to Mesa in the beginning, with the addition of a Saturday and Sunday morning brunch service.

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