The seemingly average restaurant sitting on the corner of 40th Avenue and Tejon Street in the Highland neighborhood is serving outstanding authentic Mexican cuisine. Necio Mexican Kitchen, open since September 2019 is the legacy of previous Necio Latin Eatery. The latin restaurant had a short run from June 2018 to September 2019 serving dishes inspired from Mexico, Central and South America. It came from partners Angel Bañales and Jose Gurrola. When the Latin eatery closed, Gurrola decided to take over the space and introduce a new concept with the same Mexican influences thus Necio Mexican Kitchen was born.
With a new partnership between Gurrola and friend Efren Velasquez, former chef at La Loma and El Cazo Cocina y Cantina, the menu was crafted to bring culture to the community and carry the same bold flavors that Necio Latin Eatery offered. With a slight revamp to the pueblo style cooking that Gurrola’s mother specializes in, dishes like the Empanada De Pollo and Chicken Mole Enchiladas provide a homey yet stylish quality to the dishes.
The Gurrola family, originally from Zacatecas, Mexico, ushered in a ranch-style cooking to the kitchen. The amazing food culture that derives from the pueblos of Mexico are the highlight of Necio Mexican Kitchen.
Using solely local vendors and incorporating vegan and vegetarian dishes is important to Gurrola as he also runs his own meal preparation company, My Vision Nutrition. This meal preparation company and smoothie bar offers pickup or delivery breakfast and lunch options — just next door to Necio sharing the same kitchen.
Rather than falling into the shadows of the many Mexican restaurants in Colorado serving just simple rice and bean combination plates, Necio elevates Mexican food with creative adaptations of those traditional dishes. The Empanadas De Pollo ($9) are made with a mix of chicken, fresh vegetables stuffed in a handmade puff pastry dough and smothered with a mango coconut curry sauce and topped with a mango salsa — it’s both sweet, salty and light from the pastry dough.
The simple Enchiladas De Mole ($13) are seemingly the highlight of the menu. It is served with two rolled corn tortillas filled with shredded chicken and cheese all smothered with a rich mole sauce and topped with crema fresca. The mole has a light sweetness with the perfect wash of smokiness and just a touch of heat on the backend — a well-rounded flavor profile to smother any Mexican American dish in.
While the menu specializes in creative takes on traditional dishes, the fare still offers those classic items like hearty street tacos. For a quick bite, the fluffy tortilla vessels can be stuffed with carnitas, al pastor, pork belly, shrimp, chicken or asada ranging from $3 to $4 per taco.
The space is full of Latin American paintings, a soothing fireplace and a deep rouge covering the walls. The touches of wood and rustic metal as décor nods to the pueblo inspired cuisine while the calming Latin music lends to an intimate cantina ambiance.
Not only does this Mexican restaurant offer an elevated menu for its community but it also serves as a statement for the Gurrola family. “Our roots are here, we want to show people that Latinos are capable of entrepreneurship and to ultimately give back at the end of the day,” Gurrola said, “We also want to show that Mexican food is the best.”
Necio Mexican Kitchen is located on 4001 Tejon St., Denver. It is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
All Photography By Kori Hazel