Riverside Main Street Pedestrian Mall Home to Two More Mexican Restaurants


(This article was written by Fielding Buck and published on the Press-Enterprise on January 2, 2020)

The tequila is flowing at two new restaurants on Riverside’s Main Street Pedestrian Mall.

They are Fire Up Grill, across from the UCR/California Museum of Photography, and Palenque, a reinvention of Mezcal Cantina y Cocina on the other side of University Avenue.

Fire Up Grill was recently opened by Ruben Barragan, who managed restaurants in the local Mr. Taco chain.

It serves tacos, seafood, and guacamole mixed at table. Entrees cost $8-$18.

There is also a wide selection of margaritas, sangrias, micheladas, beer and wine.

It is at 3750 University Ave., Suite M, former home of a French restaurant called L Bistro. Seating is mostly on an enclosed patio, which is equipped with space heaters.

Hours are 11 a.m.-midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Information: 951-850-9224, fireupgrillca.com

Up a block on the mall, Mezcal Cantina y Cocina has rebranded itself and expanded into the space next door, which at one time was a gallery for Cal Baptist University.

The space that used to be a restaurant is now a nightclub called Mezcal Ultra Lounge. The restaurant is the new space is called Palenque by Mezcal Mexican Kitchen & Tequila. It opened a few weeks ago and serves a new menu with entrees priced $19-$45.

It serves a bottomless mimosa brunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Margaritas are $9-$12, and cocktails run $12-$15. There is also a selection of premium tequilas, whites, and bottled and draft beers.

Palenque is at 3737 Main St., Suite No. 101, adjoining Mezcal Ultra Lounge.

Hours are 5-9 p.m. Monday; 4-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.

Information: 951-888-2240, palenquekitchen.com