UPPER WEST SIDE — Tapas are universal.
That's Marion Maur's philosophy and part of the inspiration behind her new Spanish restaurant, Casa Pomona, co-owned with longtime New York restaurateur Sid Gupta, at 507 Columbus Ave between 84th and 85th Streets, opening Oct. 1.
In Spain, explained Maur, "it doesn't matter who you are or where you came from, everyone has tapas." It's a tradition that spans across demographics in which you spend an hour "having a glass of sherry and bringing in the evening," she said.
And it's a tradition she thinks will appeal to all the different people who live on the Upper West Side in her mind, from single 20-somethings, to young families, to older couples.
She hopes the timing of the restaurant will help add to the burgeoning foodie zone popping up on Columbus Ave.
"I think the Upper West Side is considered the Siberia of the food world... but if there was to be a hipster block, this would be it," she said, referencing popular spots like Osteria Cotta and nearby Momofuku Milk Bar.
Maur was a chef in her own restaurant in Woodstock, New York, before working at neighborhood spot Papardella.
Casa Pomona has a hip, industrial feel to the space, with rough hewed wooden table tops, chalkboard walls and a splash of bright red paint accenting the bar. It fits 114 people and has high tables and a bar in the front that Maur hopes will appeal to a younger crowd and a more traditional dining area at the back if groups want to settle in for dinner.
The menu, by Chef Jodi Bernhard, is inflected with a hipster, foodie sensibility, from meatballs with oxtail to Duck liver with spicy peach on homemade seeded rye bread to a Spanish Manhattan with unsweetened cherry juice with sherry and Spanish brandy, with tapas dishes ranging between $3 and $12.
Maur hopes the openness and affordability of tapas will encourage people to mix and match their local dining experience, perhaps with drinks and small bites first at Casa Pomona before heading next door to Kefi for dinner, or swinging by after dinner for sherry and dessert.
"For Americans, tapas is a lot of small plates until I fall off the chair, but I love that. You bring something to New York and then make it your own."