Moctezuma's reopened today in Gig Harbor at its new home in the old Harbor Monsoon restaurant. Expect to find a stylish Mexican restaurant with a the same menu as before, only with contemporary touches, said operations manager Bernie Garcia when I last spoke with him about his newly renovated restaurant.
Moctezuma's moved after losing its 18-year home to a building remodeling project at its previous location next to Safeway. The new Moctezuma's across Point Fosdick Drive has seen extensive remodeling since the beginning of the year, the remodel led by Bernie Garcia, son of founder Arturo Garcia, who opened the first Moctezuma's on South Tacoma Way in 1978. Bernie's sister Maribel Arias will manage the Gig Harbor Moctezuma's. Their father is semi-retired.
Moctezuma's sister restaurant in Tacoma at 56th remains unchanged from its longtime concept of a traditional family-style Mexican restaurant - complete with a Tex-Mex menu - but Garcia said in the spring that Gig Harbor diners should expect the new Gig Harbor Moctezuma's to be a slightly more sophisticated restaurant, complete with a tequila bar. Garcia worked with designer Sue Genty, who also designed nearby Blazing Onion and Tacoma's Paddy Coyne's.
"I went to Mexico, picked out furniture and tiles, light fixtures and design elements that will be incorporated, " said Garcia in the spring, when describing the new restaurant. He commissioned metal artists to create custom iron work. Garcia described the dining room as "an integration of authentic, quality Mexican with a little bit of a contemporary feel and touch to it." Garcia also shifted the footprint of the 5,000 square foot restaurant to a larger bar space for 60 and a dining room that will seat 100.
The menu, Garcia said, is still family style and children will be welcomed. The menu will still have the same favorites from Moctezuma's, but more sophisticated cuisine will pepper the menu. Garcia said he'll serve food that harkens to Jalisco, where the Garcia family has roots. "We've got the same menu we've had in the past, most of the menu is going to be what we had before, but adding more items that are more authentic, that you wouldn't see at a typical Mazatlan- or Azteca-type restaurant, " he said in the spring.