Restaurant Week Bites w/AJ

*okay so I get it…not everyone digs Restaurant Week. limited menus, long waits, and even variable quality make for less than ideal experiences for some places typically identified as area standouts, and while I can’t just ignore the biggest culinary event of the summer for six weeks, I can at least acknowledge the world outside of prix fixe in this space so check it out.*

I feel like Almacen Cocktail in Old Town doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Can’t be the location…half a block off Ignatio Vallarta and two corners past the Rio Cuale bridge, you almost couldn’t get more centralized without knocking down the main church.

Can’t be a lack of atmosphere…the Wednesday night of my last visit to the restaurant featured a live DJ cranking a groovy blend of old-school funk and 80s hits.

It sure as hell can’t be the food.

I’ve lost more than a few favorite local restaurants to summertime slowdowns over the past few years, and so I sat down with Javier at Almacen recently in the hopes that he could help me understand.

“We concentrate on making memories for the people that come in here…the menu changes regularly, and we usually have a special off-menu drink. Our courtyard is great for groups, which is why we keep a DJ on staff…we only spin the good stuff, no sugar pop allowed.” he explained. “We want to be a place where people can hang out before they hit the club or bring a few friends from out of town for a great dinner after a day on the beach.”

Parked at a sidewalk table watching the world roll by between the bay and the bustle, it seemed like an ideal place for a twilight after-work sip as well.

Eat: The slider platter is the ace option for indecisive burger lovers, bringing a classic bacon-cheese deluxe, a lamb burger with goat cheese, and a generously portioned pulled pork sandwich together on one plate with a side of fries. If you’re bringing a date, consider upgrading to the full sampler, which adds wings, onion rings, and other things to the equation.

Drink: The mezcal margarita is a fantastic choice, pumping up the beachside standby with the smoky signature spirit of Jalisco. If you’re feeling a little spicy, try the Maguey, which adds punch to pineapple jam and lemon juice with chile ancho and a healthy pour of mezcal.

Be Merry: The DJ arrives around 7 and sticks around until at least 12, and with most of a wine bottle to keep me company, I did the same. If you’re looking to get your evening started right or just kill time until your friends with local jobs get off work, this is the place to do it.

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AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.