Eater readers asked us to check in with the goings-on at the corner of University and Kansas in North Park; the historic building, at 2906 University Avenue, was home to Claire de Lune Coffee Lounge for 19 years until the well-loved gathering spot announced its closure back in February.
Opening there by early December will be Tamarindo, a new concept from Moose's Restaurant Group (Fred's Mexican Cafe). While the eatery was initially conceived as a Mexican concept, Moose's Steve Blasingham tells Eater that its scope has since been expanded to pull in flavors and ingredients from other Latin cultures for a still-developing chef-driven menu, sourced in part from Specialty Produce and Catalina Offshore, that will include small, medium and large plates served at accessible prices via counter service.
Design-wise, the 95-seat Tamarindo will be keeping the building's sidewalk patios but brightening up its facade with a new paint job influenced by the Art Deco style of Miami's South Beach; the inside space will be inspired by a Mexican zocalo, with the indoor/outdoor feel of a public plaza.
Blasingham says that Tamarindo will be open until midnight but promises that it won't be nightclub or DJ-focused. It will have a bar program based on tequila, mezcal and rum, ranging from organic margaritas to tropical-leaning drinks.
Next Wave Commercial's Paul Ahern and Nate Benedetto secured the space for the group and Ahern says, "These proprietors are certainly no strangers to good Mexican food with great atmosphere and I can't wait to see how they transform this historic corner into their exciting new fast-casual concept. Given the impending changes to labor laws and minimum wage increases, we may see many other local/regional restaurant owners begin to lean away from full service operations and gravitate more to casual dining formats."