When Bar Rita opens in Fort Lauderdale today, you can head over to try the restaurant's signature dish: the Truffle Street Corn Guacamole.
A riff on two Mexican staples — street corn and guacamole — this appetizer offers up the perfect pairing. While traditional Mexican-style street corn is often served on the cob, it can be hard (and messy) to eat in public. Instead, Bar Rita offers a chilled version spiked with a special truffle crema, cotija and Parmesan cheeses, and char-grilled corn that's been de-cobbed, all of it piled atop Bar Rita's original guacamole with seasoned, house-made tortilla chips.
Bar Rita opens today after four years of planning. The 5,000-square-foot establishment is located next door to the original Fort Lauderdale Tap 42 restaurant, now with four South Florida locations in Boca Raton, Miami, and Aventura.
Bar Rita's signature appetizer: Truffle Street Corn Guacamole.
Photo courtesy of Bar Rita
In 2014, Tap 42 founders and brothers, Sean and Blaise McMackin, began working alongside executive chef Andrew Balick and partner Damon DeWeerdt to acquire the land beneath the establishment's now towering two-story restaurant. Most of the architecturally stunning building's space is dedicated to the restaurant's most impressive feature: an open air rooftop patio and bar.
Bar Rita’s menu presents a modern take on Americanized Mexican fare from Cali-style burritos to a section on the menu that allows you to build your own Bodega Bowl, a choice of protein served over rice or lettuce and topped with guacamole, black beans, pico de gallo, charred corn, and fresh-squeezed lime juice.
The modern tweaks come into focus with their signature offerings, including fajitas and tacos with vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. Chimichurri lamb shank and cauliflower al pastor are options for fajitas, while tacos include crispy fried avocado, truffle barbacoa, and carne asada cheesesteak.
"Much like the elevation of traditional bar food at Tap 42, we wanted something casual where people didn’t have to choose between good food and good drinks," said Balick, who works alongside chef Beatriz Saldivar for Bar Rita's interpretation of traditional Mexican cuisine. "The food is best paired with the experience, from the open air rooftop, intimate downstairs dining room, or casual outdoor patio. Think guacamole and nachos with a margarita on the patio, or a couple sharing lamb shank fajitas in the dining room."
Bar Rita offers half-priced fajitas every Monday.
Photo courtesy of Bar Rita
You'll also want to pair any of these dishes with one of Bar Rita's signature cocktails from TapCo Restaurant Group's corporate beverage director, Paige Nast. Offerings include the Don’t Be a Prick margarita prepared with blanco tequila, prickly pear, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, and agave served in a basil salt-rimmed glass. Or go for a Mexican Old Fashioned that combines anejo tequila with Mandarine Napoleon liqueur, agave, and chocolate bitters served with an espresso rim.
Bar Rita, like many Mexican-inspired establishments, will also offer a number of promotional specials beginning with Fajita Monday (all signature fajitas are half-priced from open to close); Taco Tuesday (get any taco for $3; beer for $4; and the Rita's original margarita either frozen or on the rocks for $6 from open to close); and Thursday Ladies Night (women drink free from 9 to 11 p.m. at both bars). A daily happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. at both bars, with half-priced drinks and a bar bites menu offering discounted house appetizers.
"Our plan from the very beginning was to create a Mexican restaurant with a different look, something people haven’t seen before," said TapCo Restaurant Group COO Andy Yaeger. "Bar Rita's menu is fun. We try to create a great balance for savory and healthy in all of our restaurants, and we think [we] hit the mark."
. 1401 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-990-6658; facebook.com.