A popular restaurant in hip Mexico vacation destination Tulum is bringing some tropical vibes to New York this summer — fully equipped with a “meditation circle/reflecting pool area” and lots of mezcal cocktails.
Tulum’s cocktail lounge and restaurant Gitano — originally nestled in Mexico’s palm tree-studded jungle — is slated to debut later this month at the corner of Varick and Canal, in the 24,000-square-foot outdoor lot that previously housed the short-lived Smorgasburg Soho. It will be the second location of the three-year-old, bohemian, and mezcal-fueled drinking den from restaurateur James Gardner.
Just like the Tulum outlet, which caters to the resort town’s well heeled-international clientele, Tribeca Citizen notes that Gitano New York will involve an outdoor tropical garden aesthetic, albeit one with temporary structures fit for the venue’s seasonal operation: May to November this year and next only.
In addition to serving Mexican food and beverages like grouper ceviche with young coconut and its popular Jungle Fever cocktail (mezcal, chili, lime, cilantro), Gitano New York will manifest as an expanded version of the original, encompassing a retail store, a 11-table and 30 seat coffee cafe, plus a “meditation circle/reflecting pool area” and “community garden styled area growing herbs and vegetables,” according to Community Board 2’s March meeting minutes. The 400-seat restaurant and 30-stool bar area will claim much of the real estate, offering five seating spaces, both covered and not.
While Gitano in Tulum is equipped with its own kitchen, the New York location will likely have a small grill and will outsource 70 percent of its rustic Mexican plates, the meeting notes say. Meanwhile, cocktails will be handled onsite, but with specific stipulations.
Since Tulum’s outpost of Gitano is known for rowdy late-night parties, with lines often snaking out the entrance, Gardner had to sign off on a few rules: only background music, no happy hour specials or boozy brunches, no bottle service, no TVs, and no heaters.
Eater has reached out to Gardner. Stay tuned for more.