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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Eco Café Goes “Mesoamerican”

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Chili con carne at Eco Cafe

Chef Guillermo Peters has prepared his style of Mexican food under a number of different auspices, and the latest has brought him to a breakfast and lunch spot in Mid-City.

Eco Cafe now features dishes across a range the chef calls “Mesoamerican” — with Mexican and Central American traditions — alongside some salads, sandwiches and breakfast dishes from the cafe’s earlier menu. More changes are in store.

Eco Cafe opened in the spring of 2010. The name is a reference to the many “green” construction techniques and recycled building materials worked into its Canal Street address, which had sat in blight since the levee failures. It’s been stuck somewhere between a coffee shop and a neighborhood restaurant however, not quite fitting either category just right. Some tweaks over time have caught on (the cafe now serves fresh juice bar beverages) while others were short-lived (an evening tapas menu on the weekends didn’t last).

Now, the breakfast and lunch menus include items like chili con carne omelets, quinoa salads, carnitas and tortas, the classic Mexican sandwich (pictured).

A Mexican torta at Eco Cafe

Peters came aboard as chef a few weeks ago, and he says he’s working with owner Monica Ramsey on more changes for the place. There will likely be a name change down the line, and sometime in October the restaurant will begin serving dinner a few nights a week. In September, he has two special dinners planned at the restaurant (details below).

A native of Mexico City, Peters originally operated his restaurant Taqueros in a Kenner strip mall, where at the time it served the area's best tacos and a selection of much more ambitious regional Mexican cuisine. In 2004, he moved his restaurant to a large, two-story St. Charles Avenue property (now home to Irish House) and greatly expanded it as Taqueros/Coyoacan, which offered an upscale cantina atmosphere downstairs (Taqueros) and a fine-dining Mexican restaurant upstairs (Coyoacan). It reopened after Katrina, but went out of business in 2007. Peters then opened a breakfast/lunch cafe in the building called Stop 9 Refueling Station, and later a revamped version of Taqueros, but neither lasted.

Through it all, though, the chef kept in touch with email lists of customers from the old days.

“They kept sending me emails saying they missed my food, and I thought, well, me too,” Peters says.

Eco Cafe will host a special dinner on Sept. 16 in honor of the Mexico’s Independence Day, with dishes that are more in line with the high-end cuisine Peters cooked at Coyoacan. Here's that menu: Viva_Mexico__Flyer.pdf

Peters, who also has German heritage, will also serve a special German menu at Eco Café in honor of Oktoberfest on Sept. 30.

Eco Cafe
3903 Canal St., 561-6585

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