Local Spotlight: Porch Light Latin Kitchen 3

This hot, new restaurant offers Latin flair.

If you’re looking for a fresh dining experience with some Latin flair, stop in Porch Light Latin Kitchen. Porch Light recently opened in the Smyrna Village Green area with a menu highlighting Latin American flavors with classic touches. Residents have seen Porch Light as a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Owner/Chef Andre Gomez describes it as “part restaurant, part lunch counter and part Latin Quarter deli” but more than anything else, he sees Porch Light as “an experience.” It brings together Chef Andre’s skill in smoking meats, previous restaurant experiences (he’s the former chef de cuisine at Kevin Rathbun Steak), and inspirations of his childhood in Puerto Rico. Vinings Lifestyle asked Chef Andre a few questions to learn more about Porch Light and why locals should check it out.

How is Porch Light unique?

“There’s nothing else like it in the area. All of the menu items are hitting the Latin flavors with different ingredients and preparations, keeping true to the Georgia roots. We’re sourcing locally as much as possible with our vegetables and meats, even our drink menus and desserts. We’re an open kitchen with counter seats and no reservations for lunch but full service in the evening. We want you to be part of this experience.

“I’m Puerto Rican but there are items on the menu that come from all over Latin America like the Beer Can Chicken Burritos – that’s a Mexican nod.  Our Smashed Yuca Mofongo with Duck Confit is another one. Mofongo is usually made with plantains but we’re doing it with yuca and added the classical with the duck confit.”

Will the menu be seasonal?

“Yes, it’s going to be based on what’s available and the best ingredients out there. We’ll be changing it up about every six weeks or so. Also because we’re a new restaurant, we’re going to be updating the menu based upon customer responses to their favorites.”

Walk us through the menu. Where do we start?

“You have to come in and relax with a cocktail from our full-bar menu. Our servers can guide you with something to fit your taste. We have a Tropical Sangria made with coconut rum, the Smyrna Old Fashion made with Savannah88 bourbon, a Mojito made with Old Fourth Ward vodka; all different and local inspired.

“Once you have a drink, the servers can help guide you based on what you’re interested in. The whole menu is ala carte and made for sharing. If you’re wanting something a little spicier, just let us know and we can make something that brings the heat. If it’s something you’re introducing your kids to, we can use less heat.”

Much of the inspiration for the restaurant is based upon your experiences and the collaborations that come from families cooking together, who else makes up your family at the restaurant?

“First, my wife is my rock and always part of the team, helping out with whatever she can. Then we have Kati, who is my front of the house manager. And there’s Angel, my sous chef. He’s worked with me for 6 years and like family and just can do anything. These are the front-line but overall, we’re going to have a strong team to support us.”

Just for fun, what’s your favorite dish to make?

“Something that’s not on the menu. A fried rice with whatever I have around. It might be a special one day.”

Porch Light Latin Kitchen is located at 300 Village Green Circle SE Smryna, 30080. The lunch hours are Tuesday – Friday 11:45 am – 2:15 pm; Saturday noon – 3:45 pm. Dinner is served 5:15 – 9:45 Tuesday through Saturday; reservations recommended for dinner. View the current menu at www.porchlightlatinkitchen.com/