The Mekenita Grill opened its doors in 2007 and has served up authentic Mexican cuisine in a family-friendly environment to the Lutz and surrounding communities for five years. Mekenita Grill is the brainchild of Tiffani and Rand Packer. The couple grew up in central and southern California, respectively, where the Mexican influence in their lives laid the groundwork for their lives’ ambition.
“I grew up with a love and appreciation of Mexican culture,” Tiffani said.
The couple met when they were on separate vacations in Hawaii, Rand developing his skills as an executive chef for Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion and Tiffani because she was, “not ready for a job at Hewlett Packard.” The chance meeting in Hawaii produced a 12-year marriage, four children and the Mekenita Grill.
“We wanted to bring something to Lutz that wasn’t here, yet,” Tiffani said.
Rand’s job at Roy’s brought the couple to Tampa in 2000. Just a few years later, the plans were being laid to launch an authentic Mexican, family-friendly restaurant. Plans are even now being made to expand Mekenita Grill into a venture called Mekenita Cantina. The idea is to launch a fine-dining experience in the International Mall/Stadium area. For right now, Mekenita Grill in Lutz serves up some of the most creative yet authentic Oaxacan cuisine you can find in Lutz. Savory specials like Citrus Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Plantain Nachos with Serrana Passion Fruit Sour Cream or Crispy Tiger Shrimp Burritos.
Prices range from $9 to $15 and every Monday through Thursday from 3pm to 5pm is Fiesta Hour, most of the items on the menu are $5.50, including chips and a drink. The Packers felt the recession bite as much as anyone but they have not raised their prices since they opened and they said the Fiesta Hour will continue as well.
“If people can only afford to come in during Fiesta Hour, then we want them here,” Tiffani said.
Mekenita Grill is open six day a week from 11am to 9pm and is taking table reservations for New Year’s Eve where they have a special event planned with specialty Mexican cuisine, “totally different than the current menu”, according to Tiffani.