a selection of dishes and drinks at sal y limón in brentwood photo by michelle volansky

First Look: Sal y Limón Mexican Grille in Brentwood

Sal y Limón Mexican Grille opened in the former Houlihan’s space at 1221 Strassner Drive in Brentwood in late December. The Mexican restaurant is the second venue from the team behind Padrinos Mexican Restaurant in Tower Grove South.

The nearly 6,000-square-foot restaurant has a capacity approaching 200, and there’s space for a further 50 guests on the patio, which co-owner Christina Robles said will be ready in time for Cinco de Mayo. Sal y Limón (Spanish for "salt and lime") is currently taking bookings for events on the patio, with packages starting at $250. “The atmosphere I wanted to create was something that was kind of trendy, something fresh,” Robles said. The décor includes Mexican art hung around the space, and an attractive bar that features Talavera tiling, hand-painted and coated in an epoxy to smooth the bar top. The ceiling above the main dining room is painted in the colors of the Mexican flag, with a centerpiece to come reflecting the eagle at the center of the flag. 

Sal y Limón is significantly larger than Padrinos, with a vibe that Robles characterized as “a little upscale” compared to its sister restaurant. However, she added that while she wants both restaurants to have their own personality, they should feel like part of the same whole. “We have not and we will not ever take away from the family feel that we have at Padrinos,” Robles said. “I want you to be able to easily go from there to here, not much of a transition, and feel like you're still part of our family.”

The link between Sal y Limón and its forerunner is evident in the restaurant’s extensive menu, which Robles estimated overlaps around 85 percent with the menu at Padrinos. There are several options each under an array of categories ranging from nachos and salads to burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, street tacos, fajitas, chicken and seafood dishes. 

However, Robles also pointed out several dishes and drinks that are unique to Sal y Limón. For one, the restaurant’s guacamole is prepared fresh tableside, with options to customize with chopped tomatoes, yellow onion, jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, sea salt and lime. Sal y Limón also offers steak platters served with kielbasa, street corn, black beans and white rice. “You can choose from the filet mignon, the sirloin, and we have a skirt, and all of those are Angus beef aged 35 days,” Robles said. 

In terms of drinks, Sal y Limón has a menu of margaritas served in huge glasses, as well as cocktails that can be ordered in ceramic bowls for sharing. The drink list also offers classics like micheladas, mojitos and pina coladas. Sal y Limón allows diners to bring their own bottles for a $20 corkage fee. Robles said she intends to build a collection of premium tequilas for guests keen to explore tequila beyond the standard pours. 

This spring, the new restaurant’s kitchen will also double as the prep kitchen for Padrinos’ presence at St. Louis City SC’s CityPark stadium. When the St. Louis expansion team’s inaugural MLS season kicks off in March, Padrinos will be one of many local food businesses selling their wares on match days. Padrinos’ concession will be between Sections 118 and 120 in the Supporter Section, located behind the goals on the north side of the stadium. 

Sal y Limón is open seven days a week: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant’s happy hour will run from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Follow Sal y Limón on Instagram and Facebook for updates.