Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 11:57 a.m.
The name is not quite set in stone, but owner Cheryl Vitale feels pretty confident that her new Ahwautukee restaurant will be called Los Dos Cocina y Cantina. She's currently in lease negotiations to move into the old Va Bene space at 4025 E. Chandler Blvd.
"It's been 30 years in the making," Vitale says excitedly, explaining that she's finally going independent after working for the family business -- legendary New Mexican spot Los Dos Molinos
-- for decades.
Her mother, Victoria Chavez
, founded the restaurant and still owns three locations, while her sisters own two more. Vitale's new Ahwatukee eatery will be the sixth outpost.
Expect the same spicy New Mexican cuisine that made Los Dos an institution, along with Vitale's "wild hair specials" -- whatever recipe strikes her fancy, from mahi mahi tacos, to chile Colorado.
Vitale is excited that the space is basically turn-key, and hopes to be up and running within a month or less. In particular, she's thrilled about the patio there.
The restaurant's proximity to another New Mexican-style eatery -- Secreto, co-owned by Barbara Brown, formerly of Richardson's (and ex-wife of Richardson's founder Richardson Browne) -- is purely coincidental, Vitale adds. The two places are practically across from each other on Chandler Boulevard.
"Unfortunately, it's very close, and I honestly did not know," Vitale says, adding that she considered spaces all around the Valley. "I love those people."
Well, a little competition never hurt anyone -- especially hungry fans of New Mexican food. Expect things to get a lot spicier in Ahwatukee.