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Barrio Queen and Silvana Bistro: Behind the Design Scenes with Silvana Salcido Esparza

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Editor's Note: Barrio Queen is now open! And we got a taste. 

Silvana Salcido Esparza's wanted to open another restaurant since she opened the doors of her first local venture on 16th Street in downtown Phoenix nine years ago. She says her Barrio Café was a fast-growing success because it was the new kid on the block (with a kick ass menu) -- but also because she made it her home. 

On Monday, she'll welcome another community into another one of her kitchens. Barrio Queen and Silvana Bistro -- both in the old Metro Brasserie spot on Scottsdale's Stetson Drive -- are full of the chef's touches and work by a ton of local artists. 

She says her goal in designing and decorating the place was to be true to her Mexican roots and her family's long history of owning and operating bakeries ... and to bring a few of her favorite artists along for the ride. 



The interior still holds a few original details from Metro Brasserie (designed by Katherine Hayes). But the glass details have been frosted, the kitchen remodeled and sectioned off by an orange tiled wall, and the atmosphere is a far cry from its former French Bistro. 

​Through the main entrance of Barrio Queen, you'll walk on colorful mexican tiles and will be led bright green booths and seating areas with views of artwork by Angel Diaz, Gennaro Garcia, and Lalo Cota on the walls above, and Thomas "Marcus" Breeze on the backsplash of the bar. 

​If you hang a right and walk through the salon-esque padded brown door into Silvana, you can check out stenciled tables by Nomas, paintings by Case Beer, and a column full of Esparza's family photographs. 

The back patio planters are still in progress, she says, but Garcia should be back to finish them over the weekend. 

According to Esparza, the artwork will change out every couple months with rotating shows to create a gallery/restaurant/bar feel. "I'd like to see a connection between the Downtown artists I've brought with me to create the space and the Scottsdale art community," she says. "But I also want restaurant goers who haven't seen these guys' artwork to soak it all in." 

​Esparza says her love for Mexican art and design started at a young age. She remembers her father showing her a Diego Rivera mural in the lobby of El Prado in Mexico City and being inspired by the paintings of the Mexican muralists growing up on both sides of the border. 

When she moved to Phoenix, she dove into the local art scene and became a fierce supporter of the creative community. She kicked off the Calle 16 Mural Project along Barrio Cafe's 16th Street last year, and with a little help, she hopes to bring even more artwork, connections, and cultural celebrations to Scottsdale. 

The menu, business cards, and main logo were all done by Case Beer, Esparza says, and the window lettering hand-painted by local painter Matt Minjares. "It feels good to bring my friends with me," she says. "After all, this is my new hood -- my new home." 

Check out more pictures of the soon-to-open Barrio Queen and Silvana Bistro below ...

Note: This article has been updated from its original version to include artwork by Matt Minjares. 


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