Get those index fingers ready, Phoenix. You're going to have to click fast if you want a seat at Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva.
The highly anticipated restaurant from James Beard award-nominated chef Silvana Salcido Esparza offers only about two dozen seats, and if you want to nab one of them, then you'd better mark your calendars for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 18. That's when online reservations for the restaurant go live, and we have a hunch they're going to go fast.
“We’ve only got 27 seats in here,” Esparza says. “Dinner might be booked out for weeks.”
Earlier this week, we gave you a sneak peek inside the Grand Avenue restaurant, which takes over the former home of Bragg's Factory Diner. With white table cloths and bathrooms painted by a trio of local artists, Esparza's eighth concept feels more like a home than a typical restaurant. From every seat in the small dining room, guests will be able to take in views of the downtown Phoenix skyline while being surrounded by the unique arts community on Grand Avenue.
For the first time, Esparza will offer multi-course tasting menus at Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva, with options ranging from $35 to $60. The chef will emphasize one-night-only specials and sourcing hard-to-find regional Mexican ingredients. In addition to collecting more than 23 different types of chiles (some of which can't be found elsewhere in metro Phoenix), Esparza will grind her own single-source heirloom corn for masa, import seafood from Baja California, and hunt down rare ingredients including tejocote, a crab apple-tasting Mexican fruit, and xoconostle, a prickly pear-like cactus fruit.
Of course, Esparza will prepare these ingredients in her signature European-influenced style, blending ingredients such as truffle in with the south-of-the-border specialties.
Diners can also look forward to a list of boutique Mexican wines and a selection of mezcals, which will be available both neat and in crafted cocktails.
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Though an official opening date has still yet to be announced, online reservations for Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva will open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 18 on the Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva website. For updates, check the Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva Facebook, and for more information check out our previous story about the restaurant's opening.
Oh, and if you want a truly special experience, just ask for Pinky's Table, a bar-height perch just outside of the kitchen.