Friday, July 12, 2024

Tulum Mexican Cuisine is new in East Somerville. (Photo: Tulum via Instagram)

A Mexican restaurant has opened on the Charlestown border of East Somerville, a short walk from the Sullivan Square T station.

At Tulum Mexican Cuisine, the dinner menu is full of big plates such as the “lava steak” (cooked on a hot stone and served with an enchilada, tostones and rice and beans) or the Burrito Maya (filled with rice, beans and your choice of protein, and covered in melted cheese, salsa and pico de gallo), plus a long list of tacos that include carnitas, Baja fish, veggie and birria. It has a pared-down version of offerings available for lunch, with burritos, tortas and quesadillas on the menu. Drinks are expected next month after a liquor license is in place.

Abner Gonzalez and Paul Mongui are the masterminds behind Tulum, which opened its doors officially Jan. 19. Gonzalez is no stranger to the restaurant industry, having spent a dozen years in Mexican restaurants in Boston and Waltham. And Mongui is already succeeding in the Somerville restaurant scene; he owns Oralé Mexican Grill on Cambridge Street. (It serves a solid tostada.)

When Gonzalez suggested they team up for a new restaurant, Mongui was in.

Abner Gonzalez and Paul Mongui at their Tulum. (Photo: East Somerville Main Streets via Facebook)

“I have been to Tulum many times, we just love it over there,” Gonzalez said of the beach town on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. “So we thought, ‘Why can’t we bring Tulum here?’”

After signing the lease for their space on Washington Street in July, the partners spent months renovating it. The atmosphere, Gonzalez said, is very important to the vision of the restaurant, and with bright leafy greenery and cheeky fluorescent signs, they hit the nail on the head. The result is a convincing tropical oasis in the middle of Somerville.

“We want people to know the place,” Gonzalez said. “It’s very pretty. Everybody who comes in wants to take pictures. We want to share that.”

Tulum Mexican Cuisine, 3 Washington St., East Somerville. Open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.