Food + Dining Main


HOT DISH: Talking Tacos and Taquerias with Felipe’s Rob Stumm

Even though he says Felipe’s Taqueria is a “team without titles,” Rob Stumm is known to most everyone involved as the guy more or less responsible for the whole enchilada down here. He and his partners launched several of the fast-casual joints in Louisiana before breaking into Florida with a location on U.S. 41—and they’ve got big plans to grow. (Who wouldn’t want authentic food made fresh each day that’s served quickly with a fully stocked bar to wash it down?) Here's what Stumm has to say.

 

Why Naples:

I’ve been coming to Naples for 40 years. We liked it. A year ago we started doing a real estate search, and I saw this old Perkins site and said, 'This is it. Let’s start this as a flagship in Florida.' Since then we’ve found another location in Gainesville.

Intelligent Design:

We needed to do an outdoor bar because this is Florida—great weather. This restaurant is really open. It flows in and out. When I went down to Mexico last July knowing we were building this store in Naples, I selected tile that I thought was more indigenous to Florida. Light green, light yellow, then some pops of a dark blue. I try to take the traditional Mexican tile and reassemble it in a more contemporary manner. You won’t ever see the typical floral Mexican tile in a Felipe’s. I equate that with what we are not.

Name Game:

This isn’t a Mexican restaurant. This is a Mexican taqueria. They’re two entirely different animals. It’s fast-casual. You walk up and get your tacos; you’re in and out in 10 minutes for $10. We differentiate ourselves with an upscale cocktail bar alongside it, and all of our food is cooked on-premise. We don’t open up a No. 10 can of queso. We make everything fresh. All of our drinks and juices are freshly squeezed daily, and the margaritas are made with Key limes that we squeeze right in front of you.

What He Craves:

Al Pastor Tacos—it’s marinated slices of pork butt in a hot-sweet sauce and grilled with pineapple and onions. It’s a traditional Mexican protein. Ours is so much better than what you’ll get in Mexico, though, because it’s pork raised in the States. It’s all grilled together, then it goes in a four-inch corn tortilla topped with cilantro, cheese and sauce.

My favorite drink is our margaritas. This is the margarita recipe that I’ve been making for 25 years. That’s how we started—and they’re killer. It’s fresh-squeezed Key lime juice, simple syrup, Cointreau and 100 percent agave tequila. One part sour, two parts sweet and three parts tequila. All drinks are a 2-ounce pour. We make a great cocktail. We feature most of the Latin cocktails. We do tequilas and mezcals and pisco. This has just been a lot of fun. We keep a real clean atmosphere. Very safe, very friendly to families and women, and it’s just a fun place. You’ll be very impressed.

 

To plan a visit:

Felipe’s Taqueria

4255 Tamiami Trail N., Naples

(239) 302-1444, felipestaqueria.com

Aside from ordering at the counter, you can use the Felipe’s app and online ordering to bypass the line—and sitting at the bar is full-service.