For more than a year, Chilte has been slinging tacos and inventive Mexican food at farmers markets, bars and festivals. Now the buzzy taco stand has found a permanent home in the Grand Avenue Arts District.
Chilte is set to open this spring inside the newly resurrected Egyptian Motor Hotel, previously the Las Palmas Inn. The mid-century building has survived the rise and decline and rise again of Grand Avenue for more than 70 years.
The iconic neon sign from the Egyptian Motor Hotel's heyday has been restored and along with Chilte, which will be the flagship restaurant, the hotel will feature 49 refurbished rooms and a 250-seat outdoor bar and entertainment venue.
What's on the menu at Chilte restaurant?
Chilte was started in 2020 by professionally trained chef Lawrence "L.T." Smith and his girlfriend Aseret Arroyo, who previously worked in marketing. It was formerly known as Chilté Tacos before a recent rebranding.
The concept is inspired by the food Smith and Arroyo have eaten and cooked in Sinaloa, where Arroyo's family is from, and Oaxaca, as well as by their upbringings in the U.S.
Since opening, Chilte has served a rotating menu that's included tacos de carnitas on handmade jalapeño and cranberry corn tortillas, chorizo and gravy chilaquiles, esquites and chapulines, tetelas stuffed with frijoles and bánh mì tortas.
At the brick-and-mortar restaurant, guests can expect more inventive dishes that combine Mexican traditions with foods Smith grew up with. Upcoming menu items include a mole flight featuring three different moles and an elote cheesecake.
“We’re still pinching ourselves to make sure we aren’t in a dream,” Arroyo said in a press release. “At Chilte, food serves as a source of connection to each other and our communities. It’s a universal language that brings us all together."
Chilte and the Egyptian Motor Hotel are scheduled to open this spring.
Details: 765 Grand Ave., Phoenix. 602-807-5225, chiltephx.com.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Chilte is opening a Mexican restaurant in this historic Phoenix hotel