Jesse Gomez

The Tattoo-Sporting, Motorcycle-Riding, Princeton-Educated Restaurateur Who’s Bringing Mexican Back

Jesse Gomez

Most of what I know about the restaurant business I learned from Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain’s 2000 tell-all memoir of his life as a high-end restaurant chef, Kitchen Confidential, was rife with sex, drugs, and drinking. The restaurant business, according to Bourdain, was brutal—and you had to be something of an outlaw to survive.

He rides a motorcycle, but Jesse Gomez, dressed in a dark, collared shirt and fiddling with his smartphone at Mercado, his Santa Monica eatery, doesn’t strike me as an outlaw. And, I soon find out, contrary to what …

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