When Tepache Mexican Kitchen & Bar opens in the North Hills in October, you’ll see hummingbirds incorporated into the logo and décor. They are more than just decorative.
The ancient Mayans believed that hummingbirds migrated between the spiritual and physical worlds. Tepache’s owners want their restaurant to reflect that by serving as a culinary conduit between Pittsburgh and the parts of Mexico we don’t often experience.
“We’re going to make elaborate, hand-crafted Mexican food with different regional approaches, including recipes from Jalisco, Oaxaca and Baja California,” co-owner Kayla Welch says.
The journey is a family affair; joining Welch is her husband Jovanny Segoviano, his brother Chuy Segoviano and her father Joseph Welch. In addition to welcoming a business and a baby this year, Kayla Welch is working toward a Ph.D. in Latin American studies at the University of Pittsburgh.
The Segovianos hail from outside of Guadalajara, Mexico, and have worked in restaurants in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., for nearly two decades. For the last year, they’ve been renovating the former Pig Iron Public House at 926 Sheraton Dr. on the border of Cranberry and Marshall townships.
The main dining room seats about 100 people, including 35 at the large bar. There’s also a spacious enclosed patio with a walk-up cantina. In addition to the Mexican fare, patrons can order traditional beverages.
Tepache’s namesake is a fermented drink made from the peel and the rind of pineapples.
It’s a labor of love to produce the cocktail, says Welch. The restaurant will offer several spins on tepache, including spicy, mango and mojito-style versions.
The classic margarita will also get an experimental makeover; bartenders will use salt foam instead of a salt rim around the glass.
On the food front, the menu features sophisticated takes on Mexican street snacks such as elote (Mexican street corn), slow-roasted yucca, tacos, and a specialty queso dip that will be prepared tableside.
The owners want diners to have a full sensory experience at Tepache, giving them the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and the feel of Mexico, without leaving the country.
“Mexico is such a diverse country,” Welch says. “We want to give people a different introduction to the food than what is typically seen.”