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Our Story

It’s All In A Name:

 How El Melvin came to be.

 

Co-owned and operated by childhood friends and partners Mitch Good and Matt Hess, El Melvin Cocina
Mexicana is an entrepreneurial spin off from a storied chicken farm and grocery store history. Mitch’s
grandfather, Melvin Mitchell, led this spirit, growing up and working on a chicken farm for Victor Weaver in New Holland, Pennsylvania, where the two partners also grew up. Through dedication and hard work, Melvin worked his way up the company, which grew to Weaver’s Chicken. It eventually sold to Tyson Chicken in 1989.

Not ready to retire, Melvin decided to finance another business venture with his son-in-law and Mitch’s father, Jeff Good, starting Amelia’s Grocery Outlet in New Holland that same year. The store was named after Melvin’s wife, Dorothy Amelia Mitchell and Mitch’s name also came from his mother’s maiden name, Patricia Mitchell. The initial Sarasota tie-in also came from Melvin, who bought a vacation home in 1989 at The Meadows Country Club for family and extended family visits. Over the next 24 years, the store flourished and in 2013, was sold to the Grocery Store Bargain Outlet based in Berkeley, Calif.

Like his father-in-law, Jeff was not ready to retire. Following in Melvin’s footsteps, Jeff then also bought a vacation home in Sarasota. In 2014, after Mitch graduated from Penn State University with a degree in marketing and Matt graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in finance, the three started discussing business opportunities. Sarasota was low hanging fruit due to its warm climate and the family vacation history that came with it. It was just a matter of time to find the right place and opportunity.

Over the next five years, Mitch and Matt pursued their respective marketing and finance careers, Mitch in food marketing for Advanced Food Products, a U.S. division of Savencia Cheese and Fromage, who just so happened to have purchased the office building from Weaver’s Chicken for their North American headquarters. Matt ventured into commercial banking. But the desire to go into a business of their own never wavered.

After considerable research on business opportunities, five years later, Mitch and Matt decided to move to Sarasota in 2019. Shortly thereafter, they met Chris Brown, a well-known Siesta Key and downtown Sarasota commercial real estate developer and restaurant owner, who proposed to Mitch and Matt to take over Two Senoritas, a 25-year family-owned restaurant in downtown Sarasota. Not ones to consider a restaurant due the industry’s low success rate, there was something about it that intrigued both of them. That afternoon, Mitch received a call Melvin had passed away. Mitch took this as a timely sign from his grandfather to move forward with Two Senoritas.

With no restaurant experience between them but a long history of entrepreneurial success, Mitch and Matt decided to apply Mitch’s family philosophy of hard work, and dedication and develop relationships to evolve the family and cultural history of Two Senoritas into a more elevated and modern and socially engaging experience. To do this, Mitch and Matt surrounded themselves with local industry experts who gave them a generous helping hand of support. These included Mark Woodruff, owner of Made
Restaurant, whose father, John, founded Two Senoritas. Mark’s storied history with downtown Sarasota and the restaurant business provided invaluable insights both from concept and operational standpoints.

Another was Mark Caraguilo, a Hollywood and restaurant staging and design consultant and also a member of the well-known and respected Caragiulo family, which owns several concept restaurants in Sarasota. Mark assisted with the remodel concept to create a lively, Mexican Cocina ambiance, while also recommending the name El Melvin. The history behind Melvin and his commitment to family and the entrepreneurial spirit intrigued Mark and by naming the restaurant El Melvin, would continue this
family legacy, also an important part of the Mexican culture. And coincidentally, or perhaps it’s something bigger, one of the Caraguilo’s restaurants, Owen’s Fish Camp, also carries another tie-in. Melvin’s brother’s name was Owen.

Coming off an opening year that included facing and dealing with COVID challenges and periodic shutdowns, partners Matt and Mitch realized the need to adapt to a changing environment and one that requires additional emphasis on the customer experience – from food quality to safety and comfort and feeling welcomed anda appreciated. To that end, they have invested in a well known chef consultant to elevate the menu and overall food and drink quality and a front of house general manager to ensure the highest quality guest experience. As such, El Melvin continues to carry on the family legacies’ commitment to hospitality, food and service excellence, and delivering a unique and engaging authentic dining concept that celebrates culture and friendships.

Our Story

It’s All In A Name:

 How El Melvin came to be.

 

Co-owned and operated by childhood friends and partners Mitch Good and Matt Hess, El Melvin Cocina
Mexicana is an entrepreneurial spin off from a storied chicken farm and grocery store history. Mitch’s
grandfather, Melvin Mitchell, led this spirit, growing up and working on a chicken farm for Victor Weaver in New Holland, Pennsylvania, where the two partners also grew up. Through dedication and hard work, Melvin worked his way up the company, which grew to Weaver’s Chicken. It eventually sold to Tyson Chicken in 1989.

Not ready to retire, Melvin decided to finance another business venture with his son-in-law and Mitch’s father, Jeff Good, starting Amelia’s Grocery Outlet in New Holland that same year. The store was named after Melvin’s wife, Dorothy Amelia Mitchell and Mitch’s name also came from his mother’s maiden name, Patricia Mitchell. The initial Sarasota tie-in also came from Melvin, who bought a vacation home in 1989 at The Meadows Country Club for family and extended family visits. Over the next 24 years, the store flourished and in 2013, was sold to the Grocery Store Bargain Outlet based in Berkeley, Calif.

Like his father-in-law, Jeff was not ready to retire. Following in Melvin’s footsteps, Jeff then also bought a vacation home in Sarasota. In 2014, after Mitch graduated from Penn State University with a degree in marketing and Matt graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in finance, the three started discussing business opportunities. Sarasota was low hanging fruit due to its warm climate and the family vacation history that came with it. It was just a matter of time to find the right place and opportunity.

Over the next five years, Mitch and Matt pursued their respective marketing and finance careers, Mitch in food marketing for Advanced Food Products, a U.S. division of Savencia Cheese and Fromage, who just so happened to have purchased the office building from Weaver’s Chicken for their North American headquarters. Matt ventured into commercial banking. But the desire to go into a business of their own never wavered.

After considerable research on business opportunities, five years later, Mitch and Matt decided to move to Sarasota in 2019. Shortly thereafter, they met Chris Brown, a well-known Siesta Key and downtown Sarasota commercial real estate developer and restaurant owner, who proposed to Mitch and Matt to take over Two Senoritas, a 25-year family-owned restaurant in downtown Sarasota. Not ones to consider a restaurant due the industry’s low success rate, there was something about it that intrigued both of them. That afternoon, Mitch received a call Melvin had passed away. Mitch took this as a timely sign from his grandfather to move forward with Two Senoritas.

With no restaurant experience between them but a long history of entrepreneurial success, Mitch and Matt decided to apply Mitch’s family philosophy of hard work, and dedication and develop relationships to evolve the family and cultural history of Two Senoritas into a more elevated and modern and socially engaging experience. To do this, Mitch and Matt surrounded themselves with local industry experts who gave them a generous helping hand of support. These included Mark Woodruff, owner of Made
Restaurant, whose father, John, founded Two Senoritas. Mark’s storied history with downtown Sarasota and the restaurant business provided invaluable insights both from concept and operational standpoints.

Another was Mark Caraguilo, a Hollywood and restaurant staging and design consultant and also a member of the well-known and respected Caragiulo family, which owns several concept restaurants in Sarasota. Mark assisted with the remodel concept to create a lively, Mexican Cocina ambiance, while also recommending the name El Melvin. The history behind Melvin and his commitment to family and the entrepreneurial spirit intrigued Mark and by naming the restaurant El Melvin, would continue this
family legacy, also an important part of the Mexican culture. And coincidentally, or perhaps it’s something bigger, one of the Caraguilo’s restaurants, Owen’s Fish Camp, also carries another tie-in. Melvin’s brother’s name was Owen.

Coming off an opening year that included facing and dealing with COVID challenges and periodic shutdowns, partners Matt and Mitch realized the need to adapt to a changing environment and one that requires additional emphasis on the customer experience – from food quality to safety and comfort and feeling welcomed anda appreciated. To that end, they have invested in a well known chef consultant to elevate the menu and overall food and drink quality and a front of house general manager to ensure the highest quality guest experience. As such, El Melvin continues to carry on the family legacies’ commitment to hospitality, food and service excellence, and delivering a unique and engaging authentic dining concept that celebrates culture and friendships.