Salinas 2 Brings House-Made Mexican Fare to Bevo Mill

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Salinas 2 offers daily drink specials. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • Cheryl Baehr
  • Salinas 2 offers daily drink specials.

If your idea of the Bevo Mill neighborhood is confined to windmills and Bosnian restaurants, Joel Castillo of Salinas 2 (4601 Gravois Avenue, 314-696-8877) wants to change your mind.

On August 23, Castillo and his business partners opened the doors to their Mexican restaurant, Salinas 2, in a Gravois storefront that used to house Bosnia Gold. This is the second location of the wildly popular Mexican restaurant. The original, a Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis winner for "Best Fish Tacos" and "Best Mexican Restaurant," is located in Chesterfield.

Salinas 2 is one of a growing number of Mexican restaurants that have taken up residence in this once Bosnian-dominated part of town, and from what Castillo has noticed, they have been a welcome addition. "We have all different kinds of people from the neighborhood, including many Mexicans and Hondurans who live around here," he explains. "We welcome everyone."

Salinas 2 is now open in Dutchtown. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • Cheryl Baehr
  • Salinas 2 is now open in Dutchtown.

In that spirit, Salinas 2 is neither completely Americanized or fiercely authentic; it's both. The comprehensive menu features many gringo-friendly dishes you'd find at other Mex-American restaurants, such as fajitas, burritos, nachos and chips and salsa. However, the menu also consists of several authentic dishes like menudo, ceviche and whole grilled fish. "There is something for everyone," Castillo says.

No matter what you order, though, Castillo proudly notes that it will be handmade. Everything from the beans, salsa and cheese dip that are served gratis to the taco shells fried to order is made in-house, something that he says is not often seen at this type of restaurant.

The original Salinas opened its doors in 1992, and though it continues to be successful, liquor laws requiring the restaurant to cease serving at 11 p.m. prohibited Castillo and his team from becoming the nightlife destination they wanted to be. "In the city, we can remain open until 1:30 a.m., which allows us to have karaoke and live music on Friday and Saturday nights," Castillo explains. "We have so many families come in — kids, grown-ups — everyone takes turns singing karaoke well into the evening."

Joel Castillo is co-owner and general manager of Salinas 2. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • Cheryl Baehr
  • Joel Castillo is co-owner and general manager of Salinas 2.

And if you need some liquid courage to get in front of that microphone, Salinas 2 offers shockingly discounted drink specials that change from night to night. These include $1.99 "Colossal Margarita" Tuesdays, "Jumbo Margaritas" on Wednesdays and weekend beer specials. You can enjoy these beverages either inside the large, stone-accented dining room on outside on the well-lit patio.

Salinas 2 is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 until 1:30 a.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Click through for more photos of Salinas 2.

The fajitas are a house specialty. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • Cheryl Baehr
  • The fajitas are a house specialty.

Authentic Mexican artwork decorates the dining room. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • Cheryl Baehr
  • Authentic Mexican artwork decorates the dining room.

The dining room at Salinas 2 is large and festive. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • Cheryl Baehr
  • The dining room at Salinas 2 is large and festive.
The bar at Salinas 2. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • Cheryl Baehr
  • The bar at Salinas 2.

Salinas 2 offers several varieties of margaritas. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • Cheryl Baehr
  • Salinas 2 offers several varieties of margaritas.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story provided the wrong neighborhood. Salinas 2 is in Bevo Mill, not Dutchtown. We regret the error.

We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at cheryl.baehr@riverfronttimes.com.

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