Walk-Up Tacos

Upscale food stand S&M Eats hitches its wagon to Grapevine Bar

Upscale food stand S&M Eats hitches its wagon to Grapevine Bar

S&M Eats
S&M Eats has a sweet little take-out window next to the Grapevine Bar. Photo courtesy of S&M Eats

A cute little food stand called S&M Eats opened this week right next to Grapevine Bar on Maple Avenue, where it is serving upscale-yet-cheap tacos, arepas and boleo sandwiches.

It comes from Sean Ewell, who previously co-owned a catering/food vendor company called Longboat Key Tacos, and chef Kellie Doyle, who has worked for a number of restaurants including BreadWinners.

They've landed a most unusual location: Basically, they've taken over what was an unused kitchen at the Grapevine and transformed it into a charming little stand, painted a friendly aqua-blue, where you can grab a taco and belly up to the counter on site, or take it to go.

 S&M came into being with a fair amount of serendipity, and has emerged as a perfect partnership.

It also serves as in-house restaurant of sorts for the Grapevine, with its own dedicated window into the bar. They're open for lunch and dinner every day except for Mondays, and they open until midnight on weekend nights.

"It comes from a love for tacos and brisket and trying to make good food," Ewell says.

"I got into this because I wanted to perfect brisket. I always found brisket to be overly salty, and began to work on a recipe where the meat was the star. Kellie is an executive chef who had the ambition but never the capacity or availability to do something on her own."

S&M came into being with a fair amount of serendipity, and has emerged as a perfect partnership.

"Kellie is good friends with the owner of the Grapevine, who owned a kitchen that was not occupied," he says. "That's when we got the idea of, 'Let's pull this together.' I could keep my regular job and we could start this up. Kellie does a lot of the legwork in the kitchen, and I do the marketing."

They also split up the menu, which features arepas, tacos and boleos topped with brisket, pork, chicken-fried cod, caramelized pork belly, green chili burger and grilled vegetables. They also do loaded fries, topped with brisket, bourbon queso and jalapenos. 
"I bring the fresh sauces and brisket and the tequila-agave pork," Ewell says. "She brings the vegetables and chicken and caramelized pork belly. She also has an executive chef background from multiple restaurants and corporate kitchens so she understands the flow of the kitchen and is able to execute  everything consistently across the board."
They get the bread for their boleos from a local bakery, and they're trying out various vendors for tortillas; the arepas, they make themselves. Their slaw is a house-made jicama slaw, and the chicken-fried fish is cod – "no GMO tilapia," Ewell says. The burger is a patty they cut in half so it'll fit into a taco nicely, and they top it with queso and pico de gallo. Their loaded fries come topped with their signature brisket, although you can get your fries topped with cheese or just straight.
"It's just two people with a love of food who want to provide something that is not snooty," Ewell says.