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Planning on doing some traveling this Fall? If you are, you may want to take a trip down to South Florida. Hit up Miami or Fort Lauderdale so you can enjoy the sun when it starts getting colder everywhere else. But that’s not all that makes South Fall such an ideal traffic spot. The great eatery known as Bodega Taqueria y Tequila helps in that regard.
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila is a great spot to eat if you’re craving some authentic Mexican street food while also looking to enjoy some time at a club, you can do both in one spot thanks to the work done by this now expanding chain. Locales in South Florida keep popping up for a good reason. The pandemic couldn’t stop it and the sky is the limit here.
To get a better sense of why Bodega Taqueria y Tequila is such an ideal place to visit on your South Florida jaunts, we have an interview with co-founder and President Jared Galbut below. Get the wisdom right from the horses mouth. And after that, get your Fall trips in line with a scheduled jaunt to Bodega Taqueria y Tequila.
1. It’s Mexican Independence Day, and you own Bodega – one of the most successful fast-casual Mexican street food & speakeasy concepts in South Florida. Tell us, what are you drinking today?
I am having a little bit of a mezcal moment right now, so it will probably be a neat mezcal and a Modelo on the side, have to stay hydrated.
2. Tell us about Bodega – what can your guests expect when they walk through the doors?
The experience of Bodega has always been special. Your first interaction is with what we have created as an outdoor food truck experience just indoors. You order from a vintage retrofitted airstream, sit at high top tables with graffiti murals covering the walls and Mexican hip hop playing while enjoying some of the best tacos in South Florida. When you are ready for a cocktail, you can walk through a porta potty door past urinals into a lounge that has some of the best music and cocktails around. The design is authentic and comfortable, and I think those combinations are what have made us so successful and the approachability at all hours of the day.
3. How did the idea of opening a place like Bodega come about?
It was opportunity based, we were presented with a space on Miami Beach and my co-founder Keith Menin and I decided we wanted to do something unique for the area. We noticed the lack of Mexican and also approachable bars and lounges in this area and thought this would be the perfect it. The goal was to make it more experiential and not so expected which I think we were able to achieve with the Airstream and entrance to the lounge.
4. At the time, did you know that you would want to expand the Bodega brand beyond the flagship Miami location?
Initially we were just focused on opening South Beach and not focusing on building multiple units. Expanding was always something that we have discussed in the past recent years, but during COVID we were really able to see the strength and viability of the food side of the operations. Our delivery and pickup business really picked up we knew it was time to expand through Florida.
5. You are currently expanding Bodega at a rapid rate; please tell us more about that
If we were going to expand, we knew we had to do so at a rapid pace. There was a lot of opportunity for second generation spaces and it was important to act quickly when we did, especially in Florida, because we knew it would not last long. We were able to pick up some unique locations and are almost completed with building out our entire portfolio in South Florida. Our next phase of expanding nationally is already underway and expect to have those announcements available shortly.
6. How have you integrated technology into your concept?
With our expansion came a large digital transformation for the company. We have streamlined our existing technologies and spent the time developing new ways to better the customer experience at Bodega. This past year we have embraced digital technology as a way to not only serve our customers better but expand into new markets. Creating a seamless digital ordering experience was at the forefront of this initiative. Most notably, we launched our app in Q2 of this year and it has been incredible for the business and guests have loved it. You can order pickup or delivery, catering, book a
table in the lounge and we have an amazing rewards program. It is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
7. You’re a dad and the principal of a major hospitality company. How do you find the time to stay in shape, and what is your workout regimen?
It is definitely not easy and does not always go as planned, but I think it is just always staying active and participating in the little things throughout the day. I try to stay active in some way 5 days a week and mix it up a little, which I think is the most important. Most people burn themselves out doing one thing over and over, so I try to bike, run, lift and sometimes a Barry’s class. Also, I am a big fan of intermittent fasting, which has helped a lot in terms of diet, even when I am not eating the best.
8. You have participated in a combination of 5 Ironman competitions and triathlons. What has been the toughest/what are you training for next?
They were all difficult in their own ways. My first triathlon was definitely not the easiest as the weather was really bad and not the best swim in the ocean, but it was a great feeling to finish. Overall, my Ironman 70.3 in Los Cabos was quite mentally, challenging as it was my first and did not know what to expect. It was 99 degrees with lots of climbing on the bike, definitely one to remember. After this race, it was clear that my diet and weight training needed to be adjusted in order to withstand these longer events. I am hoping to participate in another Ironman 70.3 in the upcoming year and then potentially a full ironman. It has always been a lifelong dream and I love the challenge
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