Berlin’s Newest Restaurant Hits Ground Running

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BERLIN — Tex-Mex and Beyond hit the ground running late last month when after a number of unexpected delays it opened and it’s busy ever since.

According to General Manager Tara Wancowicz, huge crowds welcomed the eatery to Berlin and if the business they are doing now is any indication of what’s to come, she predicts Tex-Mex and Beyond, owned by Ernest Gerardi, will quickly become a town tradition.

“It was like we had been open for six months, said Wancowicz of the restaurant’s “soft opening” a few days before Labor Day weekend.

Though she admitted that things got hectic at times, Wancowicz said she was satisfied with how opening week went for Tex-Mex and Beyond and revealed that some new things are already in the works.

“We’re making a lunch menu,” she said, adding that it should become available in September.

The restaurant opened for lunch last week using its standard menu.

On top of a special lunch menu, Wancowicz mentioned the possibility of a Sunday brunch joining the lineup as well.

While Berlin has seen a boom in the restaurant business this year, with Tex-Mex and Beyond the second to open this summer and another on the way, Wancowicz isn’t worried that the town isn’t big enough for everybody.

“We’re not competing,” she said.

Like many other eatery owners in Berlin, Wancowicz is confident that a niche can be found for Tex-Mex and Beyond that won’t put them at odds with their neighbors, whom she added have already been welcoming.

“Everybody is so supportive,” said Wancowicz. “It’s like a big family.”

What Wancowicz hopes will put Tex-Mex and Beyond in its own niche is the food. As the only Tex-Mex restaurant in town, the eatery already has a defined field to draw from. However, Wancowicz emphasized the “Beyond” portion of the menu as being something new and different that customers might not yet understand.

Featuring entrees like rockfish, braised pork shank and linguini, the “Beyond” throws a curveball at what is otherwise a traditional American southwest and Mexican menu.

“So you have three different options,” she said.

Head Chef Arturo Paz revealed that he does his best to factor local ingredients into dishes and utilizes Berlin’s farmer’s market, which is hosted directly across the street.

“We’re taking advantage of the abundance of peppers everyone is growing here,” said Paz.

With 22 years in the restaurant business, including a couple stints in Ocean City, Paz said that he drew on his prior knowledge and experience, including 14 years working in Miami, in developing the menu.

Even with his vast experience, becoming a chef wasn’t always Paz’s plan.

“I was actually an architect before,” he explained, adding that the two fields share more in common than most realize.

Wancowicz, who also has about two decades of experience in the restaurant business, said Tex-Mex and Beyond is one of the most unique places she’s ever managed and that Berlin itself is a wonderful fit for the eatery.

“I chose this [job] because of the area,” she said. “I love the area.”

Though the late August start meant missing the majority of summer vacationers, Wancowicz said she wasn’t worried about keeping the stream of business flowing throughout the winter, as Berlin is a more developed year-round community than many of the nearby resort spots in her opinion. She added that Tex-Mex and Beyond is already getting reservations for their upstairs private dining room for holiday parties, including some as late as Christmas.

Wancowicz advises calling Tex-Mex and Beyond at 410-629-1010 for more information or to make reservations in advance.

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