When we first started talking about launching Las Puertas (literal translation: The Doors) we wanted a name with a deep spiritual meaning representing the different options (or doors) available to someone as they undertake the challenge of embarking on a new path.This idea, the spirit of possibility, is the main feeling we wanted our new restaurant to convey. As you know, doors can close or open, but we (Victor Parra Gonzalez, Olivia Polin, and Diana Parra Gonzalez) have been fortunate through the years to have all the right doors opening for us.
So in the winter of 2015, we decided to take on another new challenge and started our journey towards opening Las Puertas. After searching tirelessly, we finally found a location suitable for our vision, but we knew we’d have to work with some talented people to help make our dream a reality.
At the beginning, an idea is just that: an idea. It takes a group of passionate people to bring that idea to life. We have been fortunate to work several tremendously talented individuals over this process, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t take the time to thank them for all of their hard work.
First off, let’s start with our design team: Mr. Smith Agency. This team helped us launch our brand and created a graphic design pallette that helped communicate everything we want Las Puertas to be. We spoke with them about the future of our food and how we want to shatter the old stigma of Mexican food and restaurants by providing a totally unexpected modern dining experience. They took this concept to heart and presented us with a clean, modern brand that emphasizes our passion and creativity.
A word from Mr. Smith: “Working with Victor, JM, and the Las Puertas team has been a tremendous project for our agency. We were given creative license to explore a variety of exciting themes that encapsulate the Las Puertas ethos. JM has taken these ideas to heart and ensured that all of the interior design perfectly complements the branding elements to create a cohesive, powerful aesthetic experience that’s worthy of the transformative work coming from Chef Victor’s kitchen.”
The second person we need to thank is Frits Abell, the generous and visionary owner of the building that houses Las Puertas. We were fortunate enough to meet Frits at several events around the city and after a few conversations, it became clear that our vision for a contemporary Mexican restaurant aligned perfectly with his own vision for a vibrant, thriving West Side community. We are honored to be a part of this movement and look forward to many years of productive partnership.
We also owe Frits a debt of gratitude for introducing us to our amazing interior designer, Jean-Michel Reed. When we first approached J-M, we had no idea the incredible journey we were about to go on. J-M worked tirelessly, sourcing materials from unlikely places, joining us for late nights of meticulous planning, and constantly challenging the boundaries of restaurant design. It’s no stretch to say that not only did J-M transform our raw space into something beyond our wildest dreams, he also became a trusted friend and advisor. The support and guidance of J-M has been integral in helping us clear the inevitable hurdles that have popped up along the way, and without his help we might still be entangled in a sea of red tape and logistical issues.
A word from JM Reed: “The design ideas for the space really came from experiencing Jaguar at The Bistro. It was clear that Victor was not totally a behind the scenes chef, and that his cooking was classic yet very contemporary. The space tries to reflect this – the entire restaurant is laid out so that the kitchen is always a part of the space. I also wanted the space to feel bright and open – a space that people want to be in.”
We’d also like to thank our tireless building crew. When the abstract ideas are drawn and placed in front of you, it’s imperative that you have a talented building crew that’s capable of translating those ideas into a fully fleshed out reality. We were beyond fortunate to have the talents and skills of Chris Cullen and his team at C. Cullen General Contracting – Nick Sterling, Brian Viger, and Anthony Gionocchio. These guys did everything from hammering nails to working side by side with Chef Victor to pick out equipment that helps complement JM’s vision.
Last, but certainly not least, we want to thank our beloved staff from Las Puertas sister restaurant, Jaguar at the Bistro. Each of these remarkable people (who are really more like family members than employees) have been with us every step of the way and directly contributed to making Las Puertas a reality.To say we’re excited about the opening of Las Puertas is a huge understatement. This has been one of the most amazing experiences of our lives and we can’t wait to unveil everything we’ve worked so hard on. See you soon!
– Olivia Polin ,Victor Parra, Diana Parra