KIPS BAY — This rent increase came with a silver lining.
Restaurateur Antonio Gomez thought he was in danger of losing the longtime home of his pizzeria Posto, at 310 Second Ave., because of rising rent — so he inked a cheaper lease for a smaller space across the street last year and prepared to move the eatery.
But then Posto's landlord came back with a better offer, and Gomez decided he didn't need to move after all. Now, in addition to keeping Posto open, he is planning a new restaurant called Mezcla in the 327 Second Ave. space, inspired by his Andalusian heritage.
“I’ve been wanting to introduce a Latin theme to our pizzeria,” Gomez said. “It’s a part of my heritage. The idea was already there. It was just waiting to be developed."
Posto's landlord could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mezcla, which will serve Latin and Spanish food in a 1,500-square-foot space at 327 Second Ave., is expected to soft-open with just dinner service on April 14, with specialties including rotisserie chicken, tapas and rabbit paella. Entree prices will range from $15 to $24.
“It’s a big step up — that’s what it is,” Gomez said. “This area needs more restaurants with higher quality.”
Gomez plans to source most of Mezcla's ingredients — including eggs, pork and rabbit — from his own farm upstate.
Gomez has already begun growing tomatoes and basil on his farm to use at his Manhattan pizzerias — in addition to Posto, he also owns Gruppo, Vezzo, Spunto and Tappo — but he soon plans to dedicate the entire 92-acre farm for ingredients to use at Mezcla, he said. Changes include expanding egg production from 100 per week to about 1,000, he said.
“It’s exciting and pretty scary,” said Gomez, who lives with his family on the Lower East Side. “Anyone who says farm to table is easy, they’re lying. Every step of the process takes a lot of experimenting.”
The 50-seat restaurant will have a small bar and will ultimately expand to offer brunch and lunch as well as dinner.
“We really enjoy what we’re doing,” Gomez said. “We’re happy with what we’ll serve and how we serve them.”