Now open: Mercado by Earl Giles

Jeff Erkkila works behind the bar at the grand opening of Mercado by Earl Giles. Photo by Michelle Bruch
Jeff Erkkila works behind the bar at the grand opening of Mercado by Earl Giles. Photo by Michelle Bruch

The new concept replacing Marche on the ground-floor of Lime Apartments opens with coffee and closes with cocktails.

Mercado by Earl Giles is now open, and the owners are planning an open grill and bar on the patio where they’ll serve tacos “food truck-style,” pending city approval. Sandwiches like the El Chapo sandwich are “very large — come hungry,” said operator Jeff Erkkila.

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Erkkila wintered in Mexico for five years, where he ran a restaurant in Sayulita.

“I rolled sushi up here for a little bit and I brought that skill down there,” he said. “It’s a beachside sushi and cocktail spot.”

He’s returned with his favorite Sayulita inspirations, including Mariscos shrimp tacos and chicken braised in chilies and garlic butter called Chicken Lady.

His co-founder at Mercado is James Dolan; they met at Borough and have worked together for years.

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Erkkila said their cocktails are focused on mezcal and raicilla, which he called the moonshine of Mexico, produced in all regions from 100 different agave strains. He sees agave flights in Mercado’s future.

Cocktails include the “pink, bright and fresh” Paloma with Earl Giles cordials and tequila, spiced with habanero tinctures for heat.

Earl Giles makes syrups and elixirs, and the name is a combination of Erkkila’s middle name (Giles) and the middle name of longtime bartender Jesse (Earl) Held. Their products are found at venues around town like Lyn 65 and Borough.

Along with tacos and cocktails, Mercado is bringing pop-up Maker’s Markets to LynLake. The markets will continue on a monthly basis throughout the spring and summer. Vendors have included jewelers, Duckie Uglings, “Super Moon Pillows” by Pirate Muse Productions, knitting and pottery (including pottery by Dolan’s family).

Mercado is dog-friendly, and at least three dogs were in attendance at the grand opening.

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