We gave it some thought but decided it wasn’t the right time for a new project. After trying to interest other parties in the site, FARR approached us once again and asked we reconsider, which we did. The initial plan was to renovate the concrete block building and lease the space. But the idea of a neighborhood speakeasy was tossed about, and 113 ½ Mill Street was repurposed as The Relief & Resource Co. with the name intended as a respectful nod to the nonprofit that occupied the building for so long. To learn more, visit reliefandresource.com.
Historically, a speakeasy would have had a cover business, some innocuous front intended to disguise illicit alcohol sales during the Prohibition era of 1920 to 1933. We decided on El Topo, a Latin American street food joint with a fresh and creative menu developed by The Laundry’s Chef Jody Brunori. Translating as ‘the mole’ or ‘spy’ in Spanish, El Topo seemed an appropriate cover for a secret speakeasy.
Service at El Topo is primarily take-out with limited space for sit-down dining. Of particular interest is the vending machine locating in the back hall of El Topo, especially between the hours of 5:00 pm and midnight, Tuesday through Sunday. But you didn’t hear that from us.