NuMex Delivers Southwestern Flavor to Grand Central District

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The Burg’s restaurant scene has surpassed zenith at this point. This is evidenced by the forthcoming debut of NuMex Chile.

Located at 2710 Central Avenue, NuMex plans to offer a nu twist on traditional New Mexican cuisine. The restaurant will make generous use of Hatch Valley chile peppers while infusing their own unique combination of flavors.

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Southwest flavors arrive in the Grand Central District

Curious diners can expect to enjoy a sincere sampling of New Mexico’s rich street food scene. The term Numex is used to describe different varieties of chile seeds. Owner Raymond Smith spent a good amount of time researching in New Mexico to deliver an authentic culinary experience that captures the atmosphere and vibrance of the state, while complementing St. Pete’s growing roster of restaurants.

“It’s all about passion for the pepper,” said Smith. He worked with chefs out in Santa Fe at the city’s cooking school to cultivate the restaurant’s menu, which is about 70% completed. Our appetites were whetted with mentions of blue corn pancakes, green chile cheeseburgers and hearty breakfast burritos. Homemade Tamales may also find their way into the NuMex lineup down the road, as well.

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Chile Ristras will ornament the restaurant’s interior

The 1,100 sq. ft. space in the Grand Central District can seat 55-60 diners and comes with about 30 off street parking spots — a premium asset for any spot on Central Avenue. Smith is currently decking out a 1953 Willys Jeep with a chile roaster.

Grand Central District’s newest culinary treasure will infuse the St. Pete food scene with an authentic southwest dining experience. Chile Ristras — strands of chile hung up to dry for later cooking — will ornament the interior of the restaurant. In New Mexico these vibrant arrangements are said to bring good health and good luck.

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When you visit a restaurant in New Mexico, the only question they ask is “red or green?’ This refers to the choice between green chile — picked unripe and fire roasted — and red chile — ripe, typically dried out. The red chile sauce is sweet at the first bite with the heat in the back remaining the same. Those craving a bit of both order Christmas.  Smith wants to bring that same flavor arc and distinction to Central Avenue.

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Art on the interior/exterior pays homage to NuMex’s influences

The influences behind NuMex are apparent in its developing menu and in the wall art. The Zia symbol will find its way on the interior walls. The symbol appears on the New Mexico state flag and regards the sun as something more than sacred. On the exterior wall, local muralist Sarah Sheppard will help design a mural featuring a woman making a chile ristra with her hair gently flowing into the Rio Grande.

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Restaurant will incorporate a to-go window

NuMex will also feature a to-go window for walk up orders. Smith plans to partner with delivery services in the area to help expand the restaurant’s reach. Diners can join them for lunch and dinner all week, and brunch every Saturday and Sunday.  Beyond food, NuMex will feature a selection of craft beers and wines. During brunch, the restaurant will serve wine-based cocktails.

The scratch kitchen will focus on pleasing palates from mild to medium. As St. Pete’s familiarity with their concept grows, NuMex will roll out hotter chile varieties. Smith plans to open NuMex by June of this year.  Follow the restaurant on Facebook for official updates.

Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is in his third year as Writer/Editor of iLovetheBurg.com. New York Times bestselling author Andre Dubus III has said of him, “Andrew Harlan has a sharp and discerning eye for detail that deftly captures character and landscape." He has published fiction and poetry in Sabal and Prime Number Literary Magazine. He graduated with honors from Eckerd College in 2013 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a minor in Literature. He can be reached by phone: (727) 896-3435 or email: andrew@rkc.me