Until July 2015, Durham’s Ninth Street District – an area buzzing with culture and vibrancy – was missing just one thing: an upscale, tapas-style Latin eatery where the whole city could make lasting memories through unparalleled dining experiences. Restaurateur Fares Hanna, having lived and owned restaurants in Durham for years, recognized this void and decided to use his talents and passion for authentic Latin cuisine to bring the Bull City just what it needed.
From a young age, Hanna was enamored by the cuisine and flavors of Cuba and Latin America. He worked for and partnered in the openings of countless restaurants throughout his young adult life and opened the first restaurant on his own in 1999. The menus of his latest concepts encompassed the rich flavors of Cuba with hints of Latin zest and were favorites in the Durham community. Over time, his zealous appreciation of the bold culinary tastes of Latin America kindled an inspiration for something more….
While on business in Miami, Hanna befriended the globally acclaimed the “Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine,” Chef Douglas Rodriguez. The James Beard Award winning chef has changed the image of Latino food in America with his culinary creativity, opening numerous high-profile restaurants nationwide, penning best-selling cookbooks and appearing on some of the country’s top television shows such as Good Morning America and the Today Show. Chef Rodriguez specializes in innovative, sophisticated pan-Latin cuisine – a perfect match for Hanna’s love for the dynamic flavors and zest of Latin fare.
After realizing their shared passion, Hanna and Rodriguez came together to develop Mesa Latin Kitchen’s menu. Their mission was simple: provide Durham an unforgettable culinary experience with every visit and every bite.
Each of Mesa Latin Kitchen’s mouthwatering dishes is full of explosive Latin flavor, infused with authentic zest and made with local ingredients whenever possible, with each recipe masterfully created by Chef Rodriguez. Guests can dig into authentic specialties such as the Shrimp Ceviche Tostone Tostada and Smoked Tuna Taquitos. With vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options also available, Mesa Latin Kitchen has a palate-pleasing dish for everyone.
Mesa is tucked into Durham’s colorful and eclectic Ninth Street District and stands as the perfect spot to grab an intimate meal with family, enjoy a night out on the town with a group of friends or indulge in a signature cocktail after a long day at work. Patrons from Old West Durham, Watts Hospital-Hillandale other surrounding neighborhoods can treat themselves to a meal and drinks inside the spacious restaurant, at the custom cement-topped bar, or outside on the beautiful patio. Not to miss, enjoy live Latin jazz music performed weekly.
The word Mesa means “table” in Spanish, and we welcome you to our table as openly as you would dine at your own. Thanks for eating with us! We love serving you.