Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay (a.k.a. Tippling Bros.) are top-shelf beverage consultants out of Chicago and New York. The two have opened numerous projects in those cities, as well as Miami, with Mercadito Hospitality, and they’re about to do it again as Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch each will open a Mercadito, the first arriving at Red Rock in late June. In addition, the Bros. will bring their Tippling Hall concept to GVR. Paul fills us in on the details.
You have a heavy culinary background, and Tad’s seems more bar focused. How do you divvy up the duties as consulting partners?
Tad spent 25 years behind the bar, and I spent pretty much 30 years on the other side of the bar in all kinds of [culinary] positions. We have different perspectives on what we do, but what ties us together, No. 1, is hospitality. It’s very important for us, and I don’t think we talk about hospitality enough in this industry. And we have the same sensibility in terms of palates: What could be hot? What’s next?
Why is Mercadito a good fit for the Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch?
Our product is amazing. The food—tacos, guacamoles, ceviches, salsas—is original, but still approachable. It’s not trying to be what it’s not. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here with Mexican food. On the beverage side, we take it up a notch and add a little bit more of—I hate saying it—a culinary side to our cocktails.
Why do you hate saying that?
It’s a really dumb word. “Culinary cocktails”—what does that even mean? It means we just use a lot of food ingredients in our cocktails. They’re cocktails where you want to have more than one. Is that culinary, or is that just delicious? I prefer not “culinary,’ but “delicious.”
Whereas Mercadito is a restaurant with great cocktails, Tippling Hall is, what?
Tippling Hall is your everyday, approachable place. If you take the great qualities of an Irish pub, a great cocktail bar, a cool wine bar—we’re trying to mesh them together, to make a cool place to have a drink and to focus on hospitality, moving away from trying to educate everybody. If I go to another bar where the bartender schools me on which rye he’s going to use in a Manhattan because he thinks it’s the greatest rye ever ... I don’t need that anymore.
What does good hospitality look like?
[Hospitality’s] really about getting repeat customers, and making sure that we’re taking care of repeat customers, and that there’s a little bit more to the experience than just showing up and spending money. There’s nothing like going to a place where the staff knows you.