Perrysburg's Cocina de Carlos offers an authentic, fresh approach to menu
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 25 June 2013 09:15
PERRYSBURG - Owner and chef Carlos Mendez prides his new restaurant on authentic and fresh made cooking.
|Owners Carlos Mendez Sr. (left) and son Carlos Mendez Jr. (right) are seen inside Cocina de Carlos, a new Mexican restaurant in Perrysburg, Ohio on June 20, 2013. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Mendez just opened Cocina de Carlos, located off Ohio 20 in Perrysburg at 27072 Carronade Drive. Mendez formerly owned OK Patron, also in Perrysburg, but decided to change locations.
"Basically, this is a continuation of OK Patron, but for commercial purposes we changed names," Mendez said.
The new location allows for better access and higher visibility.
"We have our own recipes for everything. And we add new items every six months. Everything is original from us," he said.
Mendez hand picks his own produce and avoids using frozen meats.
"We make fresh every day," he said. "I can see when the customers taste the food they know something is different."
He also steers clear of grease in the preparation process. He uses steaming techniques to use natural juices from the meats and vegetables.
"The food is, I say, more clean," Mendez said.
Cocina de Carlos has 22 types of fajitas and is also known for its grilled pineapple dish mixed with steak, fresh vegetables and sauce.
"It's a nice presentation and people like it," he said.
For lunch, the restaurant also offers a buffet. The buffet has three types of fajitas every day in addition to other dishes.
"My buffet is sometimes my laboratory," Mendez said. "If I want to introduce something new I will put it into the buffet first."
One example is cactus. Mendez first sampled cactus on his buffet, but now it is a part of several dishes on the menu.
"I try to create new dishes and import authentic Mexican food," he said. "I try to adopt authentic Mexican food for Americans.
"My kitchen is simple. I use fresh flavors and keep it simple.
Mendez, who grew up in Mexico and earned a business degree there, has 12 years experience in the U.S. food industry. In addition to his own restaurants, Mendez has also served as a consultant to other restaurants in five states. He helped design the restaurants and trained kitchen and wait staff.
"My family has been in the food business for over 40 years," he said. His father, Carlos, also cooks at the restaurant.
The restaurant has a bar and a private room that can be reserved for parties or business meetings.
Mendez plans to start tequila tastings in mid-July.
Cocina de Carlos is open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant can be reached by calling (419) 872-0200. For special dietary needs, e-mail