Wednesday, December 24, 2014

First peek: El Rey

Starr's Mexican diner takes shape at 2013 Chestnut St.

First peek: El Rey

El Rey -- Stephen Starr's Mexican diner on the site of an old Greek diner at 2013 Chestnut St. -- is still on target for its April 25* opening.

It's a work in progress.

Designer Shawn Hausman maintained much of the "bones" of the former Midtown IV Diner. He's stripped out the middle row of banquettes in the front dining room in favor of tables. The smoked-glass mirrored wall will be covered in posters.

Right now, they're working out lighting and figuring out where to hang dozens of posters procured from L.A. and Mexican flea markets. (One velvet painting, which probably will not be used, depicts an S&M scene and manages to offend on many levels.)

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The back room, which will be set up like a speakeasy complete with private entrance in the alley, will have a wall with tiny mirrors, designed to reflect candlelight. Its name will be the Ranstead Room.

More important, chef Dionicio Jimenez is testing recipes in the kitchen. He's backed by Miguel Aguilar, a vet of Alma de Cuba, Valanni, and Cantina Los Caballitos.

Here's previous info, including an idea of the food.

* Opening date slid to April 25.


Michael Klein
About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here. Reach Michael at

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