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Memos Cocina and Tequila Bar joining downtown cityscape
This spring, restaurant owners Karina and Guillermo Ramirez are set to open their sixth local Mexican restaurant, Memos Cocina and Tequila Bar, in Downtown Turlock. - photo by CARA HALLAM/The Journal

Although Mexican restaurants can be found all around the city, a trendy new restaurant set to open in Downtown Turlock plans to put a twist on traditional dishes.

Aiming to bring a “city-feel” to a small town, Memo’s Cocina and Tequila Bar will additionally focus on providing a health-conscious menu and several nutritious options.

“We want to bring in healthier versions of traditional Mexican food,” said Karina Ramirez, owner of Memo’s Cocina. “For example, we’ll be using black beans as opposed to refried beans, and of course fresh fruit and vegetables.”

In addition to new cuisine choices, the restaurant will highlight tequila – liquor that the owners say many people do not know too much about.

“We’ll be offering handcrafted cocktails, and a variety of high-end tequilas,” said Ramirez. “Also, we’ll have tequila dinners, where we hope to educate our customers on the different flavors, types and history of tequila.”

With the restaurant moving into a building originally constructed in 1912, owners Karina and Guillermo Ramirez hired local contractor Torre Reich Construction to make the needed renovations.

“We’re really starting from the ground up with the remodeling,” said Eric Gonsalves, vice president and broker with Brownstone Equities. “The building will feature the original maple hardwood floors, and showcase some of the exposed iron beams overhead. We were even able to save the original floor trusses to build tables, while using some of the scrap in the décor.”

Part of the renovations includes constructing a 30-foot bar within the restaurant, where customers can order a drink to sip on in the lounge area while waiting for a table.

“The lounge area will be in the front, and we’ll offer cocktails and appetizers for people as they wait,” said Ramirez. “We want it to have a more sophisticated setting, with a city-feel.”

The 5,100-square foot restaurant will also feature a patio in front of the building, where bistro-style seating will be available for customers wishing to enjoy the outside air.

Owning five other local Mexican restaurants, the Ramirez’s say that Memo’s Cocina and Tequila Bar will bring together their years of experience in the industry to establish a high-quality restaurant experience for customers.

“We’re going to bring together everything that we have learned over the years,” said Ramirez. “This new restaurant gives us the opportunity to show our guests the best of the best…We saw that Downtown Turlock needed another restaurant, and this is something different. Everything downtown has its own characteristics, and we wanted to be a part of that, and the revitalization that has taken place downtown. It’s definitely been livelier.”

Memo’s Cocina and Tequila Bar will be open seven days a week, and is set to open in April.