The name of the restaurant is still fuzzy and the building currently is undergoing a deep clean and decor makeover, but one detail already is set - Oaxacan cuisine is coming to downtown Puyallup, most likely in October.
Owner Ramesh Kumar is a name familiar to Puyallup diners - he owns Karma Fine Indian Cuisine on South Hill, an unexpected strip mall find serving a wide range of Indian classics (read this story, this story and this story for background).
Decisions are still being shuffled for Kumar’s downtown Puyallup Mexican restaurant, but here’s what he told me by phone this morning.
Kumar will partner with a chef with a deep resume in Mexican cuisine. The liquor application with the state calls the restaurant Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine, but that may turn out to be a placeholder name. Kumar said he and his staff are debating what to call the restaurant (he’s no stranger to name debates - he changed the name of Karma from Sumay).
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Kumar said the decision to build a menu around Oaxacan cuisine - one of Mexico’s most celebrated regional cuisines - was because Oaxacan specialties are missing from South Sound and Western Washington Mexican restaurants, which mostly feature Jalisco regional cooking (interesting bit of data, many local Mexican restaurants owners come from a single city in Jalisco - Cuautla).
So what's on the menu? Kumar is not telling - yet. However, he expects to be able to share a draft menu soon.
His best guess for a restaurant opening is maybe October, but he noted it’s too early to predict with certainty.
Kumar’s restaurant will be downtown at 506 N. Meridian, where Sam’s Taqueria previously operated. That restaurant was converted from a gas station years ago. Something interesting about downtown Puyallup? Another downtown gas station is converting to a restaurant. Read this blog post for details about Bourbon Street Bar and Grill, a New Orleans themed seafood and steakhouse opening this fall.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2013: The restaurant now has a name - Salsa 7 Modern Mexican Cuisine.