Eater dropped in on downtown's Don Chido for a spot check on the new Mexican restaurant, the first food-centric concept from nightlife pros RMD Group (FLUXX, Side Bar) done in collaboration with Knotty Barrel Gastropub owner Ken Lovi and chef Antonio Friscia.
When it opens in May, the 5,000-square-foot restaurant will seat around 200 inside and on the sidewalk patio that Don Chido's shares with RMD Group's property next door, the Marble Room (more on what they're planning for that space later). One room will be a dedicated lounge space, with communal seating and a 27-foot bar that bends into the dining room. The bar will stock over 100 tequilas, plus 24 beer taps and wine from Baja, South American and California.
At one end, a tortilla station will hand-make fresh tortillas and there will also be an eight-seat sushi bar-style perch where a chef will plate up crudo and other raw bar dishes. Overseeing this with be Fern Tran, whom many will remember as Friscia's right-hand at Gaijin.
Manager Billy Nordmeier told Eater that the lounge area will continue to party after the main dining room closes; it won't be a club, but there will be occasional DJ's and late night food service Thursday through Saturday.
In the kitchen, Friscia will cook up to 90% of the "regionally influenced, handcrafted Mexican" menu on a custom-built Santa Maria BBQ grill, which includes an oven big enough to cook a whole pig.
Don Chido's kitchen is shared with the space next door and the RMD Group is expanding their portfolio with a yet-unnamed eatery that will replace the Marble Room. Nordmeier says it'll be a wine-focused spot with New American farm-to-table food, served in a casual and homey setting. It should open by the end of the year.
· Don Chido [Facebook]
· All Eater Tracking Coverage [~ESD~]