"It almost feels as though I am destined to never open a restaurant from ground-up," chef Silvana Salcido Esparza wrote in a message to Chow Bella on Thursday night.
Yet again, she'll be taking over a space abandoned by a shuttered restaurant. This time Esparza's taking her talent and unique brand of Mexican cuisine to Sam Fox's The Yard, specifically to the space that formerly housed Lola Tapas. She plans to open Barrio Urbano, a Mexican breakfast spot.
Esparza says she's going to let the current kitchen dictate the direction of her menu. And if you ever made it to Lola at the Yard before it closed, then you know the kitchen space at the coffee shop/bar/restaurant isn't all that big.
In fact, Esparza says she's working with just four burners, a small grill, a small flattop, and little refrigeration.
These restrictions led her to one idea: Breakfast.
"There are very few Mexican restaurants offering breakfast in the Valley," writes Esparza. "Plus the fact that just about every breakfast join in the Valley offers some kind of take on Mexican, I just think the City of Phoenix is ready for this. I hope I am right. My fingers are crossed there is a market for Mexican breakfast, just in case, I am also doing lunch and late diners [sic]."
The working menu (which you can view on the next page) includes a selection of freshly baked goods, egg dishes, and menudo rojo. There are also coffee drinks, Mexican hot chocolate, and fresh juices.
Esparza says she just applied for permits for the new restaurant and expects to open before the end of the year "if all goes well."
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This will be Esparza's third restaurant concept to come from the chef's Barrio brand. In addition to the longstanding Barrio Cafe, the chef opened Barrio Queen in Scottsdale in 2011; she recently left the restaurant and also her plans to open a long-awaited second Barrio Queen location in Gilbert.
Editor's Note: To clarify, Esparza is no longer at all related to Barrio Queen's original location in Scottsdale, or future locations in Gilbert or anywhere else.
For updates check the Barrio Urbano Facebook.