‘Top Chef’ winner Gabe Erales opening new restaurant Bacalar, adjoining Tómalo Taqueria

Jul 31, 2023

Chef Gabe Erales will open his restaurant Bacalar this summer.

Chef Gabe Erales will open his restaurant Bacalar this summer.

Featured in The Austin American-Statesman Dining Section

Upcoming restaurant Bacalar will bring flavors from Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula region, which includes Lebanese, Spanish and Caribbean dishes, to Austin.

Bacalar, named after Pueblo Magico Bacalar in Quintana Roo, will open this summer in Rainey Street Historic District. The restaurant comes from Bravo’s “Top Chef” winner Gabe Erales and Urbanspace Hospitality.

The two-story restaurant will include a lounge, two bars, two patios, a private dining room and a walk-up window concept called Tómalo Taqueria. Nature- and Maya-inspired decor will decorate the space.

“Bacalar and Tómalo have been three years in the making,” Erales said. “This project is a combination of thoughtful and honest design in partnership with Urbanspace Hospitality. Bacalar is an homage to my family’s roots in Yucatan and a celebration of the diversity of that region and the multitude of diasporas that have shaped its food. The name pays tribute to the magical lagoon near my parents’ hometown of Chetumal, Mexico, where many family gatherings were held, and our proximity to Lady Bird Lake aims to be an echo of those waterfront gatherings.”

According to a press release, Bacalar “celebrates comida milpera, drawing inspiration from Mexico’s milpa agriculture system and honoring an ethos of deep-rooted relationships with farmers, suppliers, and partners.”