It was in 1968 when young Manuel Marin-Foucher Lewis (Mr. Mezcalito´s) came to Cozumel for the first time. He had a dream. It was to live the life of the famous adventurers created by the eighteenth century writer Emilio Salgari in his books like “The Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Sandokan “ and others. Manuel found the spark that took him from the outskirts of Mexico City to a never-ending adventure in the Caribbean.
After a long night at the local “La Pińata” disco as well as the once famous Hippopotamus disco, he and some friends arrived to see the sunrise on the east side of the Island. They took the transversal road (a dirt road then) and came to a desolated beach where an enormous mahogany tree had been washed up by the sea. They lit a fire and contemplated….. this was the moment when Manuel made his commitment to build into the future a place of his own: Mezcalito’s, the last frontier.
It still took the adventurer going through med school and a few more years to complete his dream. One day his professor, whom he worked with in one of the fancy hospitals of Mexico City, proposed a partnership in his practice. Manuel came home to his wife Carmen and told her that night…….”Carmen, these are roots, no way Jose”…….and next morning he took off for Cozumel, his dream place, where he wished to become a fisherman’s village doctor. One month later the family arrived with their basic belongings and with an enormous faith in the world of what they wanted for themselves and their children. This was in 1979.
When Dr. Lewis opened his practice on the island, barely a fly came into his office, but stubbornness and determination paid off. Because he only came to the island with a bicycle and his black bag, he borrowed a truck from a patient, and one day at a time started taking a few rocks and cement to start the construction of Mezcalito´s. Every other day Manuel and Carmen took building material to the other side and after some months the dream was completed, there was a small construction 12 by 12 feet with 15 stools surrounding it, a bar and a grill inside.
At this point with no knowledge of the future, they contracted Gregorio, a Mexican Nahuatlaca Indian from the state of Guerrero (no English spoken), whom they taught the most elementary facts of being a bartender and a grill cook ……how to open an ice cold Corona and as a token, a shot of “Mezcal” (an extract form of agave which is slightly different from Tequila) …. it is called the Mexican Valium, because after one shot you chill out in 4-5 minutes and enjoy the Cozumel simple life, 2 or 3 will head you to the hammocks and a trip in and of itself.
Years went by and people started dropping by Mezcalito’s to have a relaxed day and have some conch ceviche, a hamburger and a cold Corona.............but the inevitable came in 1987 when the largest and more powerful hurricane that we have ever seen hit the island. “Gilbert” with winds of 320 KPH and waves up to 15 meters vanished Mezcalito´s and seriously damaged the island's infrastructure.
Unfortunately, the first visitors to Cozumel next day after Gilbert were 19 American journalists who charted a jet and reported to the American viewers that Cozumel was totally destroyed.............of course, they never came back; although Cozumel reemerged in a month, as did Mezcalito’s. But the damage was done and tourists did not come to the island for four years, a catastrophe in itself.
Years have gone by, three other hurricanes have swept Mezcalito’s but thanks to the determination of Manuel and Carmen and of course their unbelievable staff, things got on their way and business is as usual and faithful customers always drop by and help.
All these years the kitchen and bar have evolved to a mouth watering experience with the now world famous “Mezcalito’s Super Shrimp” platter and the “Mother of all Margaritas”, not to mention the over half pound “Gilligans Burger” and the superb fajitas that hungry customers always enjoy.
Fun loving customers who year after year return to Mezcalito´s (many several times a year), have contributed and molded the essence of it, like the NAKED BEACH, the show me your boobs sign, the T-shirt collection, the family albums, the mother of all margaritas, Bob Marley and Jimmy buffet songs.
Mezcalito’s has been managed over the years by different people, because of Manuel's medical practice. Today the restaurant is personally supervised by Manuel Jr., that young strong handsome smiling guy who spring breakers adore and the acute eye of Carmen and of course Mr. Mezcalito´s :0)