For the past five years, Michael Sanchez has operated Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in Ralston, Nebraska. Started by his grandparents 35 years ago, Maria’s has won multiple Best of Omaha awards. Michael’s success running the family restaurant led to his new endeavor, Mula Mexican Kitchen & Tequileria, located on the corner of 40th and Farnam (just a few doors down from Oxide).

Mula logoMula logo
Mula Mexican Kitchen food sampleMula Mexican Kitchen food sample

Over the past several months, Oxide has had the honor of branding the restaurant, lending a hand in everything from the logo to interior design. The identity centers around the two definitions for Mula: spanish for mule and slang for money. The logo is a bright red mule in the center of an engraved currency pattern overlaying the word Mula in all-caps black text. The logo is hand-stamped every time, and the font changes as often as possible. This goes against the consistency we typically preach to our clients, but with the basic rules in place, consistency is still achieved all while creating a brand that has the “less corporate” look and feel of a Mexican street restaurant.

Mula business cardMula
business card

Mula serves street-style Mexican food made from local ingredients. While Mula is about as far from Tex-Mex as you can get, Michael and his executive chef Hiomara van den Boogaart find it difficult to label the restaurant as “authentic”. What’s authentic to one area cannot define an entire region – the country of Mexico is an extremely vast place with a wide range of flavors.

They also offer a wide selection of tequila, craft cocktails, and Mexican beer. Core to Mula’s concept is to possess a tequila knowledge that is unparalleled in the state. They didn’t just fill their shelves with tequila – they are actually trained experts, truly earning the title of tequileria.

Mula Mexican Kitchen menuMula Mexican Kitchen menu
Mula Tequileria menuMula Tequileria menu

With the atmosphere Michael was creating, we really wanted to avoid laminated menus. The food and drink menus (above) were designed to look like they were printed on the back of and trimmed from discarded vintage Mexican posters. We then hand-distressed each menu with random folds and coffee stains, finishing them off with a hand-stamped logo. The folds, winkles, and stains create menus that can take a lot of abuse without looking bad.

We also had the enjoyable task of collaborating with Michael Sanchez on the exterior and interior design of the space. Some of the exciting pieces we worked on that we will share in the future include exterior signage, color palette selections, two huge murals, framed wall art, and custom wallpaper for the restrooms featuring vintage Mexican currency.

View the project page for Mula Mexican Kitchen & Tequileria.