Four amigos of Felipe's

Those among you who venture out toward the southside of Savannah may have noticed the addition of a new Mexican restaurant near the corner of Waters and Eisenhower.

If you did notice, you may have thought to yourself, “This place is probably no different than any other Mexican restaurant in town.”

But you would have been wrong, according to the four men who brought Felipe’s to life.

Owner Jim Harding, General Managing Partner Tony Rossing, Food and Beverage Manager Jim Foley and Chef Felipe Orozco are true believers in their restaurant’s uniqueness.

Part of what makes their business special is the bond that exists between them.

“Twelve years ago, Jim (Harding) and I met while we were working together at the TGI Friday’s downtown,” says Rossing.

“And I met Tony (Rossing) as part of the opening staff at Suzabelle’s,” Foley recalls.

“They all met Felipe (Orozco) through me,” says Harding, who continues to tell the saga of Felipe’s.

“About seven years ago, I bought this duplex and I lived in one half and rented out the other half to Felipe. I lived there for the fist three years, and while I was there, Felipe started to cook for me,” Harding says.

“After a while, we started having get-togethers at a friend’s house, and he would cook for us. People really loved the food. Eventually, I approached Tony with the idea of opening a Mexican restaurant. He agreed, and I sold off all of my other properties to open Felipe’s. It was a big decision, but I was confident to make it with the team we have,” he says.

Their close-knit, team mentality also shows in the way that they approach their business.

“It’s not just about the food here,” says Rossing. “It’s the atmosphere, the service, the décor and the food, and we want each aspect to build on the other in order to elevate Felipe’s to a higher level.”

“Everything here is different,” says Foley. “Our food is totally different from other Mexican restaurants in the area.”

The six-page dinner menu offers tempting beef, chicken, seafood and pork dishes that you may not find at other places, such as Brochette (shrimp stuffed with jalapenos, Monterey jack cheese, wrapped in bacon then grilled, or Chicken Mole Pablano (pulled chicken stewed in a rich sauce seasoned with a variety of spices and chiles).

And while we’re on the subject of distinctive menu choices, let’s talk about two of their other menus: the wine menu and the Tequila menu.

For starters, the wine menu is two pages long and includes a full page for both vino blanco (white) and vino tinto (red) varieties, all of which are either Argentinean or Chilean in origin.

And then there is the Tequila menu, a cornucopia of choices for the true Tequila connoisseur. A whopping 50-plus varieties grace it, and can either be blended into a margarita or served in a 2 ounce snifter with a wedge of lime. You can also split a snifter and sample a few of the many choices.

While you’re here, also take note of the authenticity of the décor at Felipe’s. There’s a reason it looks so authentic: It is.

“After we purchased the restaurant back in October, Felipe and I went to stay with his parents for a week in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico,” says Harding. “We hand picked pretty much everything you see in the restaurant while we were there.”

Their outdoor patio garden boasts a lovely waterfall and pond area, with ample seating and satellite television, as well as a wide array of flora and fauna. It is completely enclosed in a high wooden fence, isolating it from the surrounding hustle and bustle. If you didn’t know better, you might think you were at a Mexican merendero (outdoor café).

Felipe’s Grand Opening is this Saturday, June 25. Felipe’s is open for lunch at 11:30. Food is served until 9:30 Monday-Thursday, and 10:30 on Friday and Saturday. Open from 3 until 9 on Sundays.

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