You could call Mi Casa Su Casa a fusion restaurant, but it might be more accurate to call it a union restaurant, in that it combines the culinary cultures of its married owners, Juvelyn and Saul Mellado.
“We’ve been together for, oh my gosh, three years now? Who’s counting anymore?” Juvelyn laughs. “We’ve been married a year and a half. Definitely, something we had in common was food and cooking. It’s something that brought us together, I think—hanging out in the kitchen, saying ‘Hey, I’m making this, I’m making this.’”
Juvelyn and Saul soon realized that their cultures—they’re Filipino and Mexican, respectively—were complimentary in the kitchen. Filipino adobo marinated meats made outstanding taco filling; spit-fired al pastor pork gave a new energy to the noodle dishes Juvelyn grew up eating. So when they decided to open a restaurant, landing a home in the former Silhouette Bakery & Bistro space in St. Paul, it made sense to combine the two.
Starting today, Mi Casa Su Casa is serving up a menu with staples from both regions: tacos and quesadillas, fried spring rolls and noodle stir-fries. But you’re also able to step up to the counter and ask for, say, Filipino slow-roasted pork with Mexican veggies, tossing it all on a bed of rice or wrapping it in a house-made tortilla.
Mi Casa Su Casa will have a hot deli, too, where long-simmered stews—including dinuguan, a pork blood stew—are prepped ready for you to grab ’em and go. (“If you’re feeling a little adventurous, dinuguan’s definitely nothing like you imagined. It’s one of those things that kind of surprises you.”) They’ll also serve Filipino barbecue: “I think it’s kind of a must, if you ask me.” There’s beer and wine to boot.
This is a real family operation for the Mellados, who did just about all of the design work and a good deal of the buildout themselves. “The tabletops, the bar tops—that’s all our hard work, and we want to be able to say, ‘Hey we built this, we built that.’ It’s probably not your typical business,” Juvelyn says. It was a lot of effort, and it wasn’t without its stressful moments.
“But at the end of the day, the food’s good, the atmosphere’s great… we’re happy. That’s the whole idea: my house is your house. We want you to feel at home here.”
Mi Casa Su Casa Filipino Mexican Eatery
383 W. University Ave., St. Paul