Tequila Museo Mayahuel set for March opening
The electric whines of drills and saws coming from the corner of 12th and K streets Wednesday indicated the opening of Tequila Museo Mayahuel is still a short way off.
However, the need for electrical changes and other construction delays, as well as permitting issues, have postponed the opening to March, owner Ernesto Delgado said.
He hopes to imbue the 5,300-square-foot restaurant, bar and gift shop with a museum-like quality that highlights Mexico's culture through tequila. Born in the Mexican state of Michoacán, Delgado is using an idea inspired by the wineries around his childhood home in Napa Valley to create a unique restaurant.
"The way they showcase the wine culture is the same way I'm trying to showcase the tequila culture," the Sacramento resident said.
The restaurant is named for the Aztec goddess of the agave plant and fertility, Mayahuel. Agave is used to make tequila. A statue of a jimador – or agave plant farmer – will sit outside the entrance.
Inside, tequila bottles, art and information will be exhibited everywhere, from T-shirts and menus to the restaurant itself.
"On the ceilings, on the floors, on the walls, on the menus, on the staff," Delgado said. "When you walk in, it will feel like a museum."
He's hired most of the 40 to 50 people who will staff the establishment. Delgado will create educational programs to teach the staff about tequila and its history. To ensure they can talk knowledgeably with customers, everyone who works there will have to write essays about tequila and its culture before they can start work, he added.
Tequila Museo Mayahuel is being built at 1200 K St., on the ground floor of a parking garage leased by the Hyatt Regency Sacramento. Delgado has converted three spaces that previously held an eye wear store, Chinese restaurant and a vacant storefront into one big space.
Interior construction is complete. The urban contemporary look is set off with bold colors of terracotta, green and black.
A large U-shaped bar wraps into the main dining room and the Coa Room, named for the shovel used to harvest agave. The room has a separate entrance and can be reserved for private parties. In back, a chef's bar will seat about 12 and serve as an exhibition kitchen. The menu will offer traditional Mexican dishes featuring fresh ingredients.
On Wednesday, tradespeople were busy finishing trim work – installing solid walnut doors, light fixtures, signs and more. Cabinetry is being hand-made on-site. Three people were restaining chairs while another man built wooden tequila lockers. Customers can use those to store expensive or rare bottles of tequila for a small fee.
Two large, garage-door-like windows will open onto a large patio. Delgado is in the process of getting permits for the 20-foot by 40-foot sidewalk cafe and adjacent lounge, which may feature an outdoor bar and fireplace, and for a small gift shop that will sell tequila.
The establishment's liquor license is expected to be finalized in late February. A new exterior façade, patio and gift shop are expected to open in a second phase after plans are approved, he said.
The management team includes Delgado, chef Ramiro Alarcon, Manager Javier Valdez and Kitchen Manager Mario Favila. The contractor, Charles Espinoza, has overseen construction.
The hours will be 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 3 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 a.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. for Sunday brunch.
Tequila Museo Mayahuel will emphasize "sipping and enjoying" tequilas and artisan cocktails.
Delgado said he initially wanted to serve 50 to 100 tequilas. But he's decided to offer fewer tequilas – both on a drink menu and at the gift shop – to help build an understanding and appreciation on a quintessentially Mexican product.
"I'd really like to focus on tequila families that have created the history and culture of tequila," he said.