Ex-Voto’s mission has always been to showcase the flavor of freshly-ground corn masa and the techniques behind doing so. Until we are able to serve you our tacos and tamales as intended, we’ll be pivoting with something fun and delicious that lends itself better to the curbside dining we’re embracing during COVID-19. Ex-Voto’s ‘Burrito Bodega’ will feature a selection of mission-style burritos on 14″ flour tortillas, stuffed with things like Pollo Rostizado, Smoked Pork Carnitas, Braised Beef Cheeks, and Tempura Rellenos. Additionally, we will be offering NC Hoop Cheese Quesadillas, Dirty Queso Dip, and maybe even the occasional Sonoran Hotdog.
Opening May 29
Thur – Sun
11:30 am – 7:00 pm
Founders Angela Salamanca and Marshall Davis met in 2013, bonding over another ancient Mexican export, mezcal. Angela’s restaurant Centro was in its sixth year, and she was looking to develop the space above her restaurant into North Carolina’s first mezcaleria, a bar focused on the history and appreciation of Mexico’s oldest spirit. Marshall was finishing design school at NCSU and craft bartending at Laotian hotspot ‘Bida Manda‘ when owner Vansana Nolintha and beverage director Jordan Hester introduced the unlikely pair.
With a boatload of trust and a pinch of insanity, they ventured down the difficult path of simultaneously renovating a 110 year-old historic building and importing a completely foreign spirit into a controlled liquor state. It may have taken twice as long as they’d expected, but Gallo Pelón Mezcaleria opened above Centro in downtown Raleigh on March 9th of 2015 with rave reviews.
In the years that followed, Angela and Marshall continued their exploration of flavors from the global south, both in the restaurant and across the state, but were unable to find (or create) a tortilla that rivaled those they’d enjoyed in Mexico. It turned out, the missing link was nixtamalization, a process in which you cook dried corn in an alkaline solution of calcium hydroxide, removing the exterior hull and making it possible to grind into fresh dough. It’s worth noting that there is a difference between hand-pressed tortillas made from reconstituted corn flour and those made from fresh nixtamal. Not only is the latter ten times more nutritious, but it’s also ten times more flavorful.
After confirming that fact, a new mission was birthed- to bring real tortillas into the restaurant, mezcaleria, and beyond! Easy, huh!? Well, it turned out not to be. Grinding fresh masa in-house would require a 450lb molino, one that needed to be custom-built by hand, 3,000 miles away. It was at this point that the duo decided this venture might be too big to live under the roof of 106 South Wilmington Street. Many avenues were explored, including a full-scale production site in Raleigh, but the opportunity at DFH seemed too good to pass up. It was a perfect way to introduce the brand and focus directly on nixtamal production while offering a handful of Mexican favorites in a fun, casual setting.
Ex-Voto uses Masienda to source the most flavorful, nutritious and real maize from independent farmers in Oaxaca and all across Mexico while also supporting local corn farmers here in the Carolinas. The entire menu is naturally gluten-free, using certified NC produce, meats, and seafood whenever possible.