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FOOD & BEVERAGE | Alpha Bierneza, Singapore

Fresh-Mex food and fun at the heart of Orchard Road

Barrio is part of a larger initiative to serve fresh Mexican food.

Just how delicious -- and more importantly, how fresh -- can Mexican cuisine truly be? That's what Barrio by Mex Out has been answering since it opened this year.

Barrio by Mex Out is bringing the fresh-mex cuisine of its little brother, Singapore's own Mex Out (which has two outlets in the CBD at Marina Bay Financial Centre and One Raffles Place) to Orchard in a laid back environment that screams "fun, friends and food."

Barrio by Mex Out notes that it is Singapore's first true Mexican casual dining experience and mixes good clean branding with a well designed ambience in the throbbing heart of Orchard Road.

"Mex Out brings the casual dining / fast casual restaurant concept to Mexican fare which has not been done in Singapore before," says Marcus Jilla, co-founder, Mex Out. "Traditionally, Mexican food in the region was stodgy, bland, unhealthy. We put a spin on that - our food is fresh, healthy and light as well as tasteful."

Jilla says Mex Out does not see themselves as a substitute for other Mexican options but playing in the fast casual space alongside players such as Nandos, Cedele, Salad Stop, Nam Nam.

Accessible Mexican cuisine

Mex Out is the brainchild of 3 expat founders, all from corporate backgrounds in the banking, finance and marketing sectors. Jared Goldberg and Robert Kindler founded Mex Out with Jilla in Singapore three years ago.

The founders saw an opportunity to bring fresh-Mex fare to Asia three years ago because this type of fresh, healthy, and affordable Mexican cuisine had become very popular in the United States, UK and Australia. "We, the founders, had some experience in hospitality and a love of food in general (and particularly Mexican food), and decided to take the plunge spotting a gap in the market, planning to first test the market in Singapore before a broader Asian roll-out," says Jilla.

"While we knew expats loved Mexican food, we needed to ensure there was broad enough appeal within all demographics to make the business work," he also shares.

Jilla, 29, is now the CEO and leads the expansion of the business full time, with a vision to use Mex Out as a vehicle to make great Mexican cuisine an accessible and everyday experience not only in Singapore, but longer term in the larger regions of both South East Asia and throughout Asia. Jilla now leads the team of 30 staff and focuses on strategic expansion of the business.

With regards to future plans to boost their business, Jilla says they will continue to grow the brand into more outlets and broaden the geographic reach within Singapore. "We will start to explore overseas expansion by the end of 2016 with overseas stores opening from 2017 onwards throughout the region," he notes.

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