Tamayo, the contemporary Mexican restaurant at the corner of Larimer and 14th street, closed its doors on January 13 and got stripped down to the a shell to be rebuilt into a more modern version of itself. For its redesign, the twelve year old Richard Sandoval restaurant commissioned Semple Brown Design, the leading restaurant design firm in Denver whose most recent clients included the Kitchen Denver and the Squeaky Bean.
As promised, the interior was transformed - the carpet stripped and exchanged for dark hardwood that is also found on doors and other parts of the restaurant. The tall, more private booths were removed and partially replaced with big new C-shaped banquettes in the main room. The private dining room was reconfigured entirely and now includes an new AV system for meetings and potential corporate events. The bars were refinished, the bathrooms redone completely, and a new lounge with bar tables and chairs replaced what used to be a dead zone.
All the furniture in the upgraded space is custom and the lighting was a big focus of the design team. Aiming to add a soft and warm touch to the space, the lighting fixtures came from a variety of sources and appears in a variety of shapes in the Tamayo space - many of these appear in the photo gallery. Note the giant 300 pound chandelier which towers over stairwell- it took eight people on ladders to mount it.
Along with the massive interior remodel came the redesign of the menu for both beverages and food. The bar now holds all 90 tequilas that used to be there plus many more, tallying up to 160 tequilas, which may just be the largest tequila selection in town. The infusions are new and there are several of them: in large tequila glass containers, the restaurant steeps, among others, lemongrass-chamomile, serrano peppers, pineapple-sage, and strawberry-basil. They are offered as part of a variety of cocktails, of which the Pepino stood out big time, or as a flight- a photo of one is included in the gallery.
The table are no longer covered in white tablecloths, following the more casual feel that Tamayo is shooting for. Capitalizing on one of its most popular items, the guacamole, Tamayo added some variations on the classic that include spicy crab and tuna tartare. A taco section boasts selections like tacos al pastor, chicken tinga, and smoked brisket and the several sides that were added include Mexican corn on the cob and poblano and chile potato gratin. A Cazuelas section was added to the mix, varying from roasted chicken to slow roasted pork shoulder and beef short ribs. All in all, only a quarter of the old menu made the new list.
Tamayo will open its doors to the public on Monday for lunch and resume its regular hours at that time.