The sleepy Frutas y Flores restaurant off the lobby at the Presidente InterContinental Hotel has been overhauled. The most noticeable change is its name: Stephens.
Bright lighting and color schemes, such as its black-and-white floor tiles and canary yellow table cloths, have been replaced with more subdued finishings. Renovations began over the summer.
The new restaurant is named for the 19th century American explorer John Lloyd Stephens, who accompanied Frederick Catherwood throughout Yucatán.
The chef will be an explorer of food, says Heriberto Jaime Bobadilla, general manager of the hotel.
Among the dishes, all creations of Chef Diego Alemi, are pozolero ceviche and the “Explorer burger,” inspired by the idea of how these dishes had been at the time of Stephens’ expeditions.
The official opening will be in early December, but the restaurant is preparing for the launch by already experimenting with a more daring take on regional cuisine.
Twenty-two new menu items will join traditional dishes, the manager said at a press conference.
As Frutas y Flores, the restaurant space existed mainly as a convenience to guests. To the rest of the public, it was always a bit under the radar, not even appearing on TripAdvisor’s list of places to eat in Mérida.
The posh 127-room hotel, which sits in the hotel zone alongside the new convention center, was a general’s mansion at the turn of the last century.