EXCLUSIVE — You have only one more chance to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Mucho, the Mexican restaurant and bar in downtown Orlando. Two days later, on Sunday, May 7, the “Tequila and Tacos” joint will close.
If all goes according to schedule, Muddy Waters, A Two Chefs Restaurant, will open in its place by the end of the month.
It will be a partnership among Mucho’s current owners, Mark Angelo and Todd Ulmer of Beacon Hill Group, and Bernard Carmouche and Larry Sinibaldi, the two chefs of Two Chefs Seafood Oyster Bar in the North Quarter.
At Mucho Monday afternoon, Carmouche, Ulmer and Angelo discussed the new restaurant. Carmouche said that while it will be different than the one he and Sinibaldi serve at Two Chefs, the menu at Muddy Waters will also feature specialities of New Orleans.
The space, at 101 S. Eola Drive, will undergo a mostly cosmetic redecoration process, no more Mexican hats on the walls, for instance, and the flaming red motif over the backbar will be replaced with chalk boards. An oyster bar will be prominently displayed up front next to the liquor bar, as they are in New Orleans. Smoked Trout Beignets, Gumbo with duck, sausage and okra, and Grilled Redfish will also be served. Carmouche said he’s planning to feature jazz brunch on weekends.
Angelo and Ulmer said they wanted to change the concept because of the glut of Mexican restaurants and taquerias that have been opening. They had met Carmouche when he was working with Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants and Beacon owned Cigarz at CityWalk. Carmouche often stopped by with friends after work. They all became friends and discussed the possibility of doing a project together someday.
Mucho opened in late 2009. Before that, the restaurant group had the Beacon directly across the street in the corner space that is now the Stubborn Mule. They own and operate several other businesses, including Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge and Stardust Lounge.
Carmouche and Sinibaldi opened Two Chefs in an office building space at 743 N. Magnolia Ave. in April of 2015. They will continue to operate Two Chefs, dividing duties between the two restaurants, although Carmouche said Muddy Waters will get most of he attention when it first opens.
Ulmer and Angelo said that many of the current staff members will be asked to stay on and will undergo training on the new menu and concept. Additional staff will also be hired, approximately 30 servers and 10 bartenders, plus four full-time oyster shuckers. The restaurant will seat approximately 180 people inside and on the wraparound patio, where Carmouche plans to have traditional Louisiana seafood boils from time to time.