Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes are headed to Los Angeles, opening two side-by-side restaurants in the Arts District by fall.
Damian will serve a la carte Californian-Mexican cuisine, while Ditroit will be an all-day taqueria serving mostly vegetable tacos.
Olvera said the duo, both high-profile chefs from Mexico City, “want to party. I think that's what's missing from some restaurants in L.A.: a little taco, a little mezcal, a little fiesta.”
Los Angeles, he said, is “one of our favorite cities and the logical next step for us in the U.S.” They are already partners in Cosme and Atla, two Mexican restaurants in New York; Olvera also owns Pujol in Mexico City and several other spots.
“We love L.A.” he said. “Historically, aesthetically, gastronomically, I feel L.A. and Mexico City are connected. I feel a personal, mystical connection to L.A. I feel like I was born here.”
He said Damian would not be “a copy-paste of Cosme,” a contemporary Mexican restaurant in New York’s Flatiron District, but that there would be some similarities.
“The beauty of opening restaurants is you can take little bits from what you've learned along the way and push them forward,” he said.
The restaurants, just steps away from Bestia, will nixtamalize their own corn for masa, have a mezcal-oriented bar, and focus on local produce and seafood.
Of the vegetarian bent of the taqueria Ditroit, Olvera said “people are moving towards that,” but “we also see that meat should be celebratory — which is consistent with Mexican cooking.”
Jesús Cervantes will be chef de cuisine and move to L.A. from New York (he previously held the same role at Cosme); Soto-Innes will split her time between L.A. and New York. Olvera will be there periodically, as he is at his other restaurants.
The restaurants are scheduled to open in August or September.