Chef Jaime Gonzalez grew up with a sense of home and hospitality wherever he traveled. As a child, he accompanied his family to their home states, Baja California and Zacatecas, Mexico, bringing food, gifts and clothing to the community.
Now, he brings his hospitality home to San Antonio, Texas, where in September he will open Carriqui, a restaurant named after the bird also known as the Green Jay. The Carriqui is native to South Texas and Central and South America, and Chef Gonzalez will unite these regional flavors under one roof.
“I want people to feel like they’re walking into someone’s house,” he said. “That to me is making [you] feel like you’re part of something, rather than just going out to eat at another restaurant.”
At Carriqui, guests will walk into the newly-renovated Liberty Bar, which received the first beer delivery after Prohibition ended in 1933. The delivery came from Pearl, the brewery-turned-district with restaurants, shopping and even co-working spaces. Gonzalez previously worked at Hotel Emma, another location in the historic Pearl district. The Pearl sits next to the San Antonio River, which forms the city’s beloved river walk and winds through its landmarks, including the Alamo and Tower of the Americas.
Gonzalez is teaming up with Potluck Hospitality, a new company managing Pearl restaurants. Potluck’s latest concept draws on San Antonio’s history and culture to bring a South Texan experience. The Carriqui menu includes Gulf seafood, botana platters and pit barbecue – all standards across the regions the “Green Jay” calls home. The restaurant houses an underground pit to cook barbecue in the traditional style of Northern Mexico. To represent the Green Jay’s flight path, the menu will include surf and turf options, such as ceviche, cocktail shrimp and barbecue with a twist.
“Just highlighting our surroundings on our menu allows me to interpret things I was raised on,” Gonzalez said. “We’re using Mexican spices and chili for rubs instead of sugar. We’re doing a fruit-based mole sauce.”
Gonzales anticipates his approach to food, the historic location and the concept will make Carriqui a truly unique experience. “Knowing that, it’s not just a job anymore. It’s a gift, and I can share it. That’s my biggest pleasure, is feeding people,” he said.
“I think of this as San Antonio’s restaurant. If you go to San Antonio, you have to go to this restaurant. I want Carriqui to be that.”
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