Cocina Consuelo, a supper club that was started by chef Karina Garcia and her husband, Lalo Rodriguez out of their apartment, and expanded to Smorgasburg, is going from pop-up to permanent. Garcia is an alum of Eleven Madison Park, and Rodriguez, a musician, formerly worked at Cosme, before both were furloughed due to COVID shutdowns and started the pop-up series.
The duo have signed onto a space at 130 Hamilton Place, at West 143rd Street, in Harlem, a few blocks where Garcia grew up. “It’s really meaningful to do something for the community I grew up in,” she tells Eater. Garcia says Cocina Consuelo will open in early 2024.
The menu will reflect the duo’s own heritages and offer something more low-key for the neighborhood than the fine dining establishments in which they cut their teeth.
Cocina Consuelo will have dulce de leche doughnuts and coffee during the day; by night it will operate as a restaurant focused on Mexican cooking, like the bone marrow birria Garcia has come to be known for, and aguachiles. While their pop-ups typically serve tasting menus, the restaurant will be a la carte. They will also have Mexican wines and spirits.
The restaurant opening has been a long time coming for the duo, whose love story also centers on food. Garcia met Rodriguez in New York City in 2018, when he was a musician visiting from Mexico. On a whim, he invited her to eat at his grandmother’s home in Puebla — she eventually took him up on the offer. They have since married, started a family, and began cooking together under the name Cocina Consuelo, beginning with takeout and delivery in June 2020, incorporating iterations of Rodriguez’s abuela’s recipes.
Eventually, Cocina Consuelo evolved into a supper club — joining one of several chef teams bringing back dinner party-style pop-ups to the city, encouraging friends and neighbors to co-mingle, following a time that was otherwise socially estranged.
They’ve since moved beyond their apartment, hosting pop-ups at spots like Bed-Stuy coffee shop Corto and Scribner’s Lodge in the Catskills. In 2023, they joined the line-up of Smorgasburg food stands, which caught the attention of Brooklyn Magazine, who called their tacos the “best thing” at the food festival.
“Cocina Consuelo, much more than just a food establishment, is a celebration of home cooking, family, and the bonds it creates,” according to the website. In the meantime, they’ll continue to host pop-ups, ahead of the restaurant’s launch.