What's In Store

New Mexican restaurant opening uptown next month

Que Onda is at 333 W. Trade St., in the space formerly occupied by Mandrake
Que Onda is at 333 W. Trade St., in the space formerly occupied by Mandrake The Charlotte Observer

A new Mexican restaurant called Que Onda is opening Nov. 15 at the corner of Mint and Trade streets uptown.

The taco and tequila spot will be at 333 W. Trade St., in the space formerly occupied by Mandrake, which closed in that spot but recently said on Facebook it’s opening soon as a food truck instead.

Que Onda, Spanish slang meaning “what’s up,” is owned by Manuel Flores, a restaurateur who moved to Charlotte in 2014 from Washington, D.C. He also owns Three Amigos in Huntersville.

Flores said he’s been wanting to open a second restaurant in the Charlotte area, especially one in the growing uptown area that caters to the busy professional crowd. He describes Que Onda as a “modern Mexican restaurant” with a no-fuss, street food-style menu heavily focused on tacos and other comfort foods like fajitas and enchiladas. The kitchen will be headed by Chef Roger Lemus.

“We want to be playful with your typical Mexican fare,” Flores said. “The idea is to welcome everyone to a very cool environment, a very casual setting. I want to be able to serve to both flip flops and suits.”

The bar, which is currently being doubled in size, will be heavily focused on tequila, Flores said, and the goal is to have about 100 tequilas on the menu eventually. It’ll have specialty cocktails like hand-squeezed margaritas.

The restaurant’s space is currently under construction to “enhance the the guest experience,” Flores said. The wall between the dining room and the kitchen is being removed to give customers a look at how the food is prepared, for example, and the bar’s being expanded. The dining room indoors will seat 75, and the patio will eventually have capacity for an additional 60, Flores said.

“We want to be part of the community that’s growing,” Flores said. “Our goal is to make sure we’re here for many years.”

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta