Name: Fonda Lola
Neighbourhood: Queen West
Contact Info: 942 Queen St. W., @FondaLola
Owners: Ernesto Rodriguez, Howard Dubrowsky and pop-up chef Andrés Márquez, who is also involved with the Charlie Burger supper club
Chef: Howard Dubrowsky, the former chef and owner of L.A.B. on College
The Food: Traditional Aztec recipes inherited by Márquez from his anthropologist aunt. Mains include grilled steak with mole sauce and Ontario trout marinated in aguachile, a blend of lime juice, macerated jalapeños and cilantro. Taco specials change daily.
The Drinks: Tequila-based cocktails made with unconventional mixers like kombucha (i.e. fermented black tea), coconut water and maple water, which is used instead of simple syrup. Traditionalists might opt for the classic margarita, which blends grapefruit, orange and lime juice. Fonda Lola is the first outfit in Canada to serve kombucha on tap.
The Place: The warm room is crammed with bird cages, painted ceramics and other Mexican tchotchkes, which liven up the DIY aesthetic. Antique wooden tables are topped with cheery woven napkins and blue-and-white patterned crockery imported from Mexico.
• $2000 for a bottle of Clase Ezul, the most expensive tequila on the menu
• 1852 hours for Márquez to renovate the space
• 150 distinctive blue-and-white Anfora plates shipped in from Mexico
• 25 bottles of tequila consumed during construction
• 18 inches of water in the basement after last July’s epic flood
• 2 culinary fact-finding missions to Mexico
• 1 tequila library where customers can store bottles of tequila until their next visit
• 1 kombucha tap, the first to be installed in Canada