SoNo’s biggest recent mystery involved the space where Washington and N Main streets meet. Stacked piles of wood blocked all hopes of peeking inside. A fox shaded on the ends of the wood made passersby more curious. What stumped a bunch of us even more was another fox that popped up in the windows, this time in emoji form, accompanied by the hashtag #Hola.
What was this riddle? A restaurant? Another bar? In SoNo, that’s what it usually is. But definitely something with a Spanish cuisine theme, right?!
I was puzzled. I posted about it many times. I asked around to no avail. People asked me what it was. I had no freaking clue. Eventually, I heard it would be a Mexican restaurant concept by the good folks at Skal Restaurant Group, who run things at The Cask Republic locations and The Ginger Man Greenwich. All of this was later confirmed (sort of) by a fittingly odd Instagram account that tagged me in a lot of posts as they did food and drink research in Mexico.
It’s a secret no longer! Evarito’s is now open in South Norwalk!
The wood has been cleared from the windows, and what’s inside is quite beautiful; hand-painted murals, custom differing tilework patterns, and hanging single-bulb lights are, as a whole, quite eye-catching. There’s also an open kitchen complete with chef’s counter bar seats that I can’t wait to sit at next time.
That branded fox/wood combo makes return appearance as pop-up artwork near the bar that gives the room a fun charm. Speaking of “fun,” the bar is where it’s at. Evarito’s fills a void in SoNo, as its focus is on tequila and mezcal. On opening day, they had over 40 different mezcals and more than 50 tequilas. Soon, that list will grow, according to owner Christian Burns. He went on to mention that Evarito’s will add 6-8 Mexican wines to the 15 they carry from other Latin regions.
If you’re wondering…cocktails are a big part of Evarito’s bar program, and margaritas are a given. Seven different margs are featured that range from classic to refreshing, and from citrusy to spicy. The rest of the list is comprised of mostly tequila and mezcal mixed drinks. There are a couple of twists on classics that I loved like the Watermelon Smash, a lighter, sweeter take on a bourbon smash, replacing mint with fresh basil, and subbing out bourbon for Don Julio Blanco. The Rasta Negroni (Appelton Rum 12-Year Rare, pineapple, lemon, Campari, cocchi vermouth, chocolate bitters) is a complex drink where flavors of sweet, bitter, boozy, and fruity all come through.
Soon enough—possibly in the fall if all goes right, or in the spring if it doesn’t—Evarito’s will debut a rooftop U-shaped bar, so if you don’t feel like drinking on their already big street level patio, you can do it while overlooking South Norwalk.
As far as the food is concerned, Evarito’s isn’t what Burns originally had planned. “When I managed The Ginger Man concept in Texas, I fell in love with Tex-Mex cuisine, so I thought that’s what this would be,” he said. “I decided on a different route after my many travels to Mexico, where I ate lots of authentic Mexican food.”
Because of that, diners should expect some typical Mexican fare. Think chicken enchiladas, chile rellenos, and tostadas. It sounds simple, but Evarito’s isn’t taking any shortcuts. Raw bar items in ice and on display until you request something that requires shucking. The guac is slapped to order. The roasted house salsa ingredients are blended on the spot so it’s still warm when it hits your table. Everything is scratch-made in-house except the non-GMO masa tortillas that are made fresh and delivered daily by Nixtamal in Queens. I think you get Evarito’s whole dedication to freshness deal.
The menu even has a “Veggies” section with the likes of fried sweet plantains with sour cream and sugar, fire-blistered shishitos and corn, and beets nogada (charred beets, walnut cream, pomegranate, fried poblano). If you require meat with your veggies, there’s a nod to Burns’ original idea of Tex-Mex, as the fajita proteins are cooked on a wood-fired grill.
But…tacos?! Of course! And they’re not a menu afterthought. Each is carefully crafted with different toppings or sauces. A few favorites were the tender steak taco (grilled onions, peppers, salsa) with a non-lingering but spicy kick, so be prepared; carnitas with pickles, green sauce, and crispy pork rinds; and the flame grilled red snapper taco with pico de gallo, spicy mayo, and a thin strip of cactus.
While at Evarito’s, I thought to myself, “There’s so much good stuff here! But I would come here JUST for tacos and booze.” That’s sort of the idea, according to Burns. “We want people to be able to come grab something affordable, and quick, like before you catch a movie,” he said. “Or if you have time, sit down, relax, and have a full meal.”
I think I’ll be doing a little bit of both. Hola, Evarito’s! Welcome to the ‘hood.
14-16 N Main Street
South Norwalk, CT
(203) 939-9937; https://www.evaritos.com/