CHELSEA — An upscale tapas restaurant heading to the neighborhood will pay homage to legendary artist Frida Kahlo.
Kahlo, the name of the planned eatery at 525 W. 29th St. between 10th and 11th avenues, was inspired by its owners’ travels to Mexico throughout the years, co-owner Fernando Lopez said.
He and his wife Paula Lopez, both of whom are originally from Colombia, “love the culture… obviously love the food” and share a high regard for the Mexican painter, he explained.
“In regards to Frida herself, she’s just flat out an inspiration,” he said. “Her story is fascinating.”
Details from Kahlo’s works and her home, La Casa Azul in Mexico City, will be scattered throughout the eatery, which the owners hope to open by September.
“If you’re a Frida Kahlo enthusiast, they’re going to be subtle, but you’ll be able to pick them out,” Fernando Lopez said. “Our goal is to have subtle influences of all her works throughout the space, whether it’s on a cushion, a seat, whether it’s something on the menu… or her favorite foods.”
The eatery will offer a variety of small plates, including sopa de lima with chicken broth and pimiento, a basil guacamole served with jicama and corn tortillas, homemade empanadas and a roasted cauliflower dish with spices and mint, Paula Lopez said.
“It’s not going to be like the big, traditional tortilla — it will be a small, homemade tortilla,” she noted.
A large-plate menu will include a braised chicken and a fish of the day, and the restaurant will serve mezcal-based cocktails, organic wines and locally sourced beers, pending liquor license approval, she added.
Paula Lopez, who didn’t speak English when she moved to the U.S. two decades ago, said she was always taken by Kahlo’s “perseverance” in the face of a difficult life.
“I went to school, learned English, got my degree, and… always keep going,” she said. “Even though [Kahlo] had her own problems growing up, she was able to always keep going.... and I think that's what really inspired me."