The Works keeps getting bigger and—many would argue—better. In addition to a mega food hall, ax throwing place, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q outpost, and more, a full-service Mexican restaurant is opening September 20. Chicheria MX Kitchen comes from the team behind Buena Vida Tapas & Sol, Juan Sebastian Calle and Adam Berlin. A Baja-inspired spot, it’s intended to bring a new style of Mexican food to the area, focusing on nutrient-rich, vegetable-laden items made in house.
“We want to present a different face of Mexican cuisine that isn’t well represented in the South,” Calle says. “It’s conscious food. You see the entire rainbow in colors in our plates.”
Top Chef alum Whitney Otawaka, formerly of Five & Ten and Cinco y Diez in Athens, consulted on the menu, which executive chef Alejandro Tamez (Otawaka’s former sous chef) will implement. Tamez is Mexican-American, and both he and Otawaka traveled extensively in the Baja region. “The Chicheria menu emphasizes the vibrancy of fresh vegetables and exceptional ingredients. The blue corn tortillas, in particular, bridge ancient culinary customs with our fresh approach,” Otawka says in a press release. “Blue corn is a healthier option [than white or yellow] with higher minerals and a lower glycemic index,” Calle adds. “It’s about making our guests feel good while they are eating our food as well as after.”
Chef Tamez brings experience from Quintonil in Mexico City—recently named No. 9 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. His food at Chicheria will be a mix of familiar and unique, with eight tacos, plus street food like a hot dog wrapped in bacon, carne asada fries, and smoked mushroom empanadas. Entrees range from fajitas to citrus-roasted chicken. Caesar salad harkens back to the origin of the item in Tijuana.
“The concept centers around community and hosting,” Calle says. “Spanish tapas are about sharing plates. Mexican food follows the same pattern.”
He reinforces that the restaurant is family-friendly, especially since its located near the Camp outdoor play area at the Works. There will be a 60-seat main dining room and a separate family area about half the size. Patios line the front and back of the building. Designed by Square Feet Studio, the decor is intended to represent Baja’s relaxed vibe. Expect wood screen walls, terracotta tiles, arched rattan elements, a mix of textiles, shutters, and artwork in purple, pink, and red hues.
Although food is the focus, there is an 11-seat bar with Baja-coast-inspired craft cocktails, including six varieties of margaritas. Beer options will include both Mexican and local. Berlin, a sommelier, created a small list of wines by the glass that pair with Chicheria cuisine. Non-alcoholic beverages include chicha morada, a traditional Peruvian beverage made from purple corn.
“We’re not aiming to be a big mezcal or tequila bar. The food is the protagonist,” Calle says.
Scope the menus below.