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Nosotros

It all started with  República.

In the Fall of 2020, we created a restaurant that would go on to revolutionize the way storytelling and food came together. República started as a space, rather than the nationally acclaimed  restaurant that it is now. We built it as a way to tell our stories and educate our own people on the beauty of Mexican cuisine outside of cliches and caricatures.

By day we brought familiarity, offering dishes like pozole, menudo, tortas, quesadillas, and aguas frescas. After a few days we added pan dulce and champurrado. Eventually that concept just kept expanding. 


By night we began calling it “De Noche”. We focused on simple approachable dishes like memelas, tlacoyos, quesadillas and tacos de cochinita,  along with beautiful wines from Mexico, mezcales, and cocktails focused on the use of Mexican spirits. We also added postres and a beautiful tabla de queso (cheese board), composed of cheeses, salsas, and seasonal fruit jellies like quince or guava.

It didn’t last very long before it all became a hit. People just began referring to it as “Republica” without any distinction between the daytime and nighttime concept.
 

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Fast-forward to:

November of 2022

At this point, República was quite the beloved chef’s tasting restaurant, being named as one of the “Top 10 New Restaurants in America” by Bon Appetit. 

 A month before we had launched Comedor Lilia – which after only 42 days of being opened was also named one of America’s best new restaurants by Esquire Magazine.

And so, in mid-November of 2022, we re-launched the original concept we had started with at Republica, “De Noche”, focused on the same small regional plates and a more approachable experience than our other two existing restaurants.

Within that period, we began focusing on the balance between recreating traditional Mexican classics within the bounty of seasonality. It was as if we were gifted a “do over”, only this time we had so much better of an understanding of this cuisine, not just how to make it, but where it came from. Every story of etymology that we had researched in the making of República served as a pillar to this new foundation.

After only a few months, we felt that we had outgrown what was supposed to be a simple “evening concept” it was no longer just another restaurant that we opened at night, it became so much bigger than that. There was so much more structure and order to it than we ever had in the first year at República. We had a nixtamalization program and a repertoire of moles and regional sauces. We had an entire cellar composed of wines made by women, LGBTQ, and BIPOC producers. To make things even better we built Comala, by far one of the best Mexico-forward cocktail bars in the Pacific Northwest and possibly in the country.

More importantly, however, we had the personnel – a number of people who had been with us at the start of our journey. All of them surrounded by more senior chefs like Jose “Lalo” Camarena, Juan Gomez, Olivia Bartruff.

And we had our leader Angel Medina. The person who pushed us to believe in our skill and our vision. Someone who challenged us daily to be better at EVERYTHING.


And so we asked ourselves the questions:


Who are we?
What are we?
What do we believe in? 

What are we trying to accomplish?
Who are we doing this for?

 

Those answers become the foundation of our story and the inspiration behind our new identity:

AMARANTO. 

Our as it is known in English; Amaranth. 

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AMARANTO

more than a name.

The beloved staple grain of the Aztec people, once considered the fourth largest traded commodity of the Aztec empire, behind beans, corn, and chocolate. It was used not only as a significant nutrient source, but also as an offering to the God Huitzilopochtli. The grain was mixed with honey, to build tremendous statues of the God in his honor. 

When the Spanish arrived and began their conquest, they started by taking away ancestral beliefs. Destroying Aztec history, wiping away the existence of their gods and every one of their religious beliefs. The amaranth was more than just an ingredient that was rich in sustenance, it had a spiritual connection to the land.  And so the Spaniards went on to  set fire to the fields, outlawing it from being regrown. They promised swift punishment to anyone who attempted to replant the herb. 

Though they wiped away much of what was grown in the region of New Spain (Now Mexico City), many indigenous folks continued to secretly grow it, despite threats to their lives. For the people of that land it was important that the story continued. 


Like those fields of Amaranth, our story continues. One dish after another, after another. 

We truly can't tell you if this was the beginning of something new or simply the continuation of what we had started years before. Nonetheless, we carry along the many lessons learned, inside and  outise of our kitchen. Everyday we find reasons to keep pushing through it all; a pandemic, a city in turmoil, a corporate restructure...

As the great Victor Hugo once said "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come".

Con todo menos con miedo!

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