Chef-about-town Chad White has announced his latest venture, a gastro bar on Tijuana's Avenida Revolucion that he's opening with a partner, Jaime Brambila, whose family owns the Hotel Lafayette above the space, which was once a well-known eatery called La Especial.
The new 1,800-square-foot restaurant, now dubbed La Justina Gastro Bar, will feature repurposed industrial materials and two living walls - one planted with succulents and another with peppers and herbs; a greenhouse is also planned for the roof of the hotel.
White, who frequently cooks and travels in Mexico, operates a Baja-inspired pop-up called Plancha Baja Med. His menu for La Justina is a mix of small snacks - chicken hearts in mole, bone marrow, conch and octopus tostada - flatbreads topped with seasonal ingredients, and larger plates including fire roasted lamb and suckling pig that will be cooked in the kitchen's wood-fired oven and grill. The gastro bar will also offer craft cocktails and Mexican craft beer.
Though they'd hoped to get La Justina ready in time for the Baja California Culinary Fest later this month, White says it's now more likely that they'll launch in early November. He'll spend a few nights a week at the restaurant, but has also hired on Iker Castillo, a chef who has worked around Mexico and at a 3-star Michelin restaurant in Spain.
Meanwhile, the chef is also getting into the quick-service eatery biz; his menu for Craft Pizza Co. being fine tuned in time for its debut in Westfield UTC's food court in a month or so and he's just taken on another food court concept, a new heathy Hawaiian food chain called IP Grill, which is slated for an LA-area Westfield mall.
· La Justina Gastro Bar [Facebook]
· All Coming Attractions on Eater [~ESD~]