“Part of the vision was to invest in State Street,” explains Augie’s general manager David Peszek about why tequila maker Augie Johnson chose the corner of State and Ortega for an upscale Mexican restaurant. Augie’s, which has soft-opened for happy hour (4-5:30 p.m.) and dinner, is aiming much higher than the usual rice-and-beans fare. The menu, which you can see below, is “authentic high-end Mexican cuisine with fresh, local ingredients,” says Peszek.
While the focus is on tequila and mezcal—”we’re hopefully going to have the largest selection of tequilas and mezcals on the West Coast,” Johnson told 805 Living—the restaurant is also hoping to be a destination for wine aficionados. “Bottles are essentially retail pricing,” says Peszek. “For a little more than two glasses, you can have a bottle.”
Architect Jeff Shelton gave the space a dramatic makeover in his trademark style. There are around 50 seats inside and 25 more on the front terrace. When the 25-seat parklet is finished in a few weeks, Augie’s will introduce brunch. Chef Eduardo Gonzalez, born in Santa Barbara and raised in Mexico, says we can expect ceviche, fish tacos, chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, churros, and more.
N.B. As always, anyone who goes to a restaurant right after it opens should prepare to be lenient.
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