Weekend brunch is the latest change to come to El Mesón Authentic Mexican Cuisine in Highlands Ranch since it came under new management last winter.
“I think it’s gonna be a good surprise for people who come for breakfast,” Inti Salgado told Colorado Community Media. “So they can taste these flavors.”
Established nearly two decades ago near Redstone Park, El Mesón is now co-owned by Teresa Hernandez of Highlands Ranch and Bertha Montiel of Denver. Salgado is Hernandez’s husband and part of the restaurant’s leadership team.
The previous owner, Amelia Lopez, is Salgado’s relative by marriage. Lopez’s retirement gave Hernandez the opportunity to move to the area from Mexico and acquire El Mesón in February 2022, Salgado said.
Montiel, who’s worked on and off in the restaurant industry for 18 years, was an acquaintance of Hernandez’s before joining the business in June. “We have a great team. I know about restaurants. He knows technology. She knows accounting,” Montiel said of Salgado and Hernandez.
The new owners refreshed the eatery by removing the carpet and clearing away some furniture from the vestibule and decor from the walls. Previously painted a variety of bold colors, El Mesón’s interior is now a more serene gray. A cleaner, simpler aesthetic was what they were after, Montiel, Hernandez and Salgado all agreed.
In February of this year, El Mesón debuted its breakfast menu featuring Mexican favorites like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles as well as brunch staples like three-egg omelets and French toast. Because it’s offered until 3 p.m., even late sleepers can enjoy it, Montiel said.
Montiel has fond memories of Sunday breakfast out with family and likes the idea of providing that in the community. “I’ve always wanted to do bottomless mimosas and bloody marys,” she said, so El Mesón offers a handful of boozy brunch beverages in addition to coffee, tea and juice.
Taco Tuesday, a new-to-El Mesón tradition, is another weekly event that Hernandez and Montiel added to their restaurant. The weekday promotion offers street-style tacos topped with marinated pork, beef barbacoa or grilled chicken for $2.50 a piece. It began in October and has made Tuesdays one of the restaurant’s busiest nights of the week, according to Montiel.
Of course, no taqueria would be complete without a happy hour. El Mesón’s runs Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. and all day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. It includes $5 nachos, chicharrones and margaritas plus special pricing on mojitos, beer and house tequila.
At El Mesón, colorful cocktails come from a small bar near the kitchen. Enlarging the bar is on Montiel’s list of upgrades she’d like to make. So is adding more tables and chairs. And moving a wall. And — well, the list is long.
The budget isn’t as big as their plans, Montiel said. Not yet, anyway. But it’s only been a year, and they’re just getting started.
Thoughts of how to make the restaurant better and the business a success follow Montiel home. “My brain, our brains, never stop,” she said.