Like many a cult institution before it, Ron Mexico and its clubhouse appeal have divided punters since its original location opened in winter 2015. Of its detractors, owner Adam Gottschalk couldn’t really care less. 'I don’t think our customers do either. All we want to be is a friendly neighbourhood bar with decent drinks and good food.'
Ron Mexico’s new location is literally nine-times larger than the original. Capacity is has blown out accordingly, and with food orders from a banging new Tex Mex-fusion selection kicking off from 11am, it’s a wholesale transformation that addresses old Ron’s two biggest shortcomings with a cohesive, brutally-American menu and a place for everyone to sit. Design flourishes – rope lighting, for one – and no more public access to the beer fridge speak to Ron’s maturation of concept, and while it’s very much Ron’s 2.0, fans of the erstwhile Yongkang Hutong joint won’t be disappointed: the community-first sense of inclusiveness upon which its good name was built is wholly intact.
The Classic nachos are busy and filled to the edges, the carnitas and chorizo a formidable tandem meat act. The burritos are enormous, and stuffed with creative fillings like Beef Short Rib, Smoked Tofu Satay and Jerk Chicken (featuring incredible sauce from Gail’s Kitchen). With Home Plate
’s Brian Murray as operations manager, it’s all gruntingly, chew-with-your-mouth- openly good bar grub.
Like the old Ron Mexico, this isn’t going to be for everyone, and that’s okay. Says Gottschalk: 'It’s like the Sorting Hat, some people are going to be at home in Café de la Poste
, some people at Tiki (RIP). They’re both awesome bars, but they’re not the same as this bar. You find the place where you feel most comfortable.'
By Frank Sweet