4947 Tamiami Trl N., Naples, FL
In the early 1980’s, Raul Mejia immersed himself in his family’s restaurant business at the Hammock Restaurant in South Naples. He then went on to work at another famous Mexican food hot spot in Naples, Meson Ole’ for six years.
Now, 30 years later, the forty eight year old, native of Colombia, calls his own shots. As the owner of Flaco’s Mexican Specialties and Steak House, located in the Liberty Plaza in North Naples off of Tamiami Trail, Mejia is mindful of quick customer service, combining an atmosphere of fun, with flavorful foods.
With his long time friend and chef, Jose Luis Sanchez, the two design mouth-watering Mexican cuisine together to satisfy even the most discriminating palettes for traditional Mexican delights.
“One of the most unique items on our menu is our fresh salsa. People rave about our salsa and chips here,” says Mejia smiling as he greets customers on a busy Thursday evening. We make everything fresh here in our restaurant every day.” Salsa is just a start to the various offerings at Flaco’s. There’s hot sizzling fajitas, tasty tortilla soup, steak quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas and beef or chicken chipotle, just to name a few items on Flaco’s lunch and dinner menu.
And Mejia isn’t shy about sharing his success in developing tantalizing recipes. “I recreated the Drunken Grouper dish while at home. I watch the food channel whenever I can, too,” he adds. The Drunken Grouper at Flaco’s consists of a happy family of sautéed grouper and shrimp sautéed in olive oil, with garlic, onions, fresh tomato, jalapeño, peppers, fresh cilantro, and topped off with a dash of tequila.
Another sinfully delicious dish is Flaco’s is their Pollo Mole’. It’s a gently simmered chicken breast simmered in a sweet, yet spicy mole sauce, with one key ingredient of melted unsweetened dark chocolate, that guarantees to tantalize taste buds.
“The food comes from the eyes first. If the food looks good, you’ll naturally want to eat it,” explains Mejia who can often be found at his restaurant seven days a week. Taking the Citizen on a tour of his kitchen, Chef Jose’ quickly prepares fresh ceviche, presenting it on a bed of lettuce, quickly adding a curl of lemon, and an extra large slice of avocado on the side of the dish.
Taking a bite of the tender ceviche was this fish’s lover’s dream. The tangy lime juice danced well together in a medley of finely chopped cilantro and tomato. A natural pairing for this dish would be white wine, but Flaco’s margarita’s are “muy bien” in every way. So a freshly shaken ice cold margarita was my first choice for this fare.
“Cuervo is really good tequila, but now they came out with even better tequila made with Blue Agave from the Agave plant in Mexico,” explains Mejia who blends his menu offerings to include only the finest ingredients from his dinner and lunch items to his mixed drinks.
It’s also Flaco’s dessert menu, which keeps those customers with “sweet tooths” coming back for more. “We have a dessert called the Banana Cheesecake Chimichanga with Vanilla Ice Cream that’s delicious, and the fried ice cream is another favorite dessert here,” says Mejia.
For families with young children, Flaco’s offers an open semi-casual dining atmosphere, complete with plenty of music, and a fantastic children’s menu so little tykes can color, while digging into Flaco’s flavors of Mexico.
If you go:
Flaco’s Mexican Specialties and Steak House
4947 U.S. 41 North
Call: 239- 261-7672
Open seven days a week