A brand dedicated to spotlighting traditional mezcal producers in and around Oaxaca is expanding to the South Bay. An extension of Tahona in Old Town and Tahona Baja, Tahona Mercado is opening at National City’s mixed-use Parco complex in February. This is the third location for the boutique, which also has branches in San Francisco and Tijuana.
Operated by Be Saha Hospitality Group, whose founder Amar Harrag has developed a variety of bars and restaurants including Wormwood, Botanica, and Oculto 477, the 500-square-foot retail store is designed to resemble a living room with its collection of mezcal and other agave spirits, as well as other Mexican crafts and snacks, on display. It will also feature a tasting area where guests can sample from lesser-seen bottles and attend educational events.
Among Be Saha’s new and incoming ventures in Baja and San Diego is its hospitality revamp of the Guild Hotel downtown. Acclaimed Tijuana chef Ruffo Ibarra is no longer attached to the project but the group’s culinary director Janina Garay is overseeing operations with Carlo Guardado recently named head chef of the hotel’s restaurant, which has been renamed Farniente Slow Food.
Though it isn’t officially associated with the global non-profit, the restaurant will mirror its support of small-scale farmers and emphasis on biodiversity, with plans to host regular CSA pick-ups and quarterly farmer’s markets. Guardado, who grew up in Fallbrook and whose family has farms in Aguascalientes, Mexico, previously worked in Hawaii and for the Ace Hotel group in Los Angeles. His new menu for Farniente Slow Food will launch by early 2024.