Rockpool Dining Group has announced its opening a new El Camino Cantina restaurant in Chermside in October. The 220-seat eatery will take over the Westfield Chermside dining precinct tenancy recently vacated by Spanish restaurant Hermosa.
It will be Rockpool’s second Brisbane El Camino Cantina after its King Street restaurant and the sixth nationally. Rockpool’s chief executive officer Thomas Pash says the group has had its eye on shopping centre precinct “for a couple of years” but was waiting for the right space to become available.
“We opened with the new dining precinct,” Pash says, referring to the Chermside outlet of the group’s popular The Bavarian restaurant and taphouse. “Out of all our Bavarians [in Australia], it's always been in the top five or 10 … and of course we have the team and the infrastructure there.
“King Street has been such a strong performer for us [so we wanted to] take the concept into another location in that market and Chermside has always performed well.”
Rockpool has numerous restaurant brands in its portfolio but Pash reckons El Camino’s broad appeal was a natural fit for Westfield Chermside. “It’s a lower price point than the Bavarian and appeals to a broader customer base,” he says. “We do more families, more 20-somethings and date nights … than we see at The Bavarian. It seems to do really well with some different demographics.”
It’s easy to see why. El Camino’s uncomplicated, value-focused brand of Tex-Mex includes crowd-pleasing soft-shelled tacos, sizzling fajitas, burritos, quesadillas, buffalo wings, nachos and other classic dishes. It’s approachable, Pash reckons, but there’s also a focus on quality. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously … but the food is fantastic, it’s very flavourful.”
The drinks menu will be led by El Camino’s well-known selection of frozen Margaritas. They come in five flavours – classic, mango, strawberry, tropical Red Bull and a rotating special – and you can opt for a 400-millilitre glass, a 700-millilitre glass or a two-litre tower. Elsewhere, there will be Mexican draught and bottled beer, and more than 100 tequilas and mezcals.
The Chermside outlet will be peddling the restaurant's usual weekday specials, with 10-cent chicken wings every Tuesday, $2 tacos on Wednesdays, half-price fajitas on Thursdays and a $15 burrito and beer lunch special from Monday to Friday.
As for the fit-out, expect the typical El Camino mix of neon signage, car culture bric-a-brac, bright artwork, bold rock posters and colourful calavera. “It’s a lot of fun,” Pash says. “It’s got great music, it’s nice and bright and comfortable … when [people] walk in it feels like they’re in Bali or Mexico or wherever – it immediately de-stresses you to walk into such a fun and vibrant atmosphere.”
El Camino Cantina is scheduled to open at Westfield Chermside’s dining precinct in early October.