Xilo Mexican is a concept by Chef Rosana Rivera & Chef Ricardo Castro. During Cinco de Mayo weekend in 2018, Xilo was a pop-up restaurant serving up tacos, nachos, and more at The Hall on Franklin in Tampa, Florida. Foodies at The Hall loved Xilo so much that it became a permanent fixture on July 23, 2018. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner by Xilo 7 days a week in Tampa Heights.
Xilo translates to corn in classical Náhuatl and is known historically to the Aztecs as the Goddess of the corn. Corn is a Mexican staple food at the heart of its life and culture. Reminiscent of the approachability of street food, we reimagined traditional Mexican food for the upscale Food Hall of today.
Xilo's food philosophy includes the use of fresh and quality ingredients, traditional Mexican cooking techniques, and excellence in flavor with high-end plating and presentation.
Rosana Rivera has been a successful entrepreneur and Chef in the Tampa Bay area for over 13 years. She is a rare breed of both culinary artisan and successful entrepreneur. Born at the hem of three generations of Puerto Rican cooks, their love of food and country made an early impression on Rivera.
Chef Rosana spent five years traveling and crafting her foodie palette as Coin USA's VP of Sales in Latin America. In 2006 she opened her first business, Piquant, and left the corporate world. While building her business, Rivera furthered her education and obtained her AA Culinary Arts from Art Institute Tampa. Rivera's MBA in Business Sustainability, Natural & Organic Products, soon followed.
Since then, Chef Rosana has bee featured in Tampa Bay Business Journal, winning 2015's Businesswoman of the Year - Hospitality; Tampa Bay Metro, Creative Loafing, Tampa Bay Times, Friends of the James Beard Foundation, Whiskey Wine Foxtrot, FOX 13 & others. In her spare time, she likes to travel, read, practice yoga, and dream up new culinary business adventures. Currently, Chef Rosana operates Xilo Mexican & Kofe at The Hall on Franklin in Tampa Heights, as well as her consulting & catering business.
A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ricardo Castro found his calling through baking while making wedding cakes with his mother since he was 12 years old.
He enrolled in the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, embracing his new career with passion. Upon graduation, he worked in French restaurants in New York City and Michigan, before returning to Puerto Rico.
Chef Ricardo secured a position in the renowned Escuela Hotelera and subsequently became the Director of Culinary Arts at the Arts Institute of Tampa. In 2012, Chef Ricardo joined Chef Rosana as Business Partner and quickly helped develop Piquant as a dining destination in Tampa.
Also, he has been involved in the coffee business since 1995 and is the master behind the curation and creation of R2 Provisions coffee. Chef Ricardo has been extensively featured in local and national TV, including FOX 13, Channel 10, Bay News 9, Telemundo, Univision, Channel 8, and others. In his spare time, Chef Ricardo plays music, is an avid fruit and pumpkin carver, and can be easily found in the kitchen dreaming and creating amazing desserts.