Chef Victoria Blamey has launched her first solo restaurant, Mena, along Cortlandt Alley in the Tribeca section of New York. The bright and intimate 50-seat concept honors Blamey’s South American heritage in both its dishes and its design. Executed by Cycle Projects, the space’s interior design also reflects the energy of downtown Manhattan.

“It’s a calm space,” says Cycle Projects principal Craig Shillitto. “There was an early reaction to the space and the desired positioning of the restaurant that called for something that was elegant, akin to the historic nature of the building, but also made you feel like you were elsewhere.”

Wall-to-wall windows flood the interior with natural light, illuminating eye-catching details like cobalt blue banquettes that wrap the perimeter. Scalloped plaster walls and clear-finished quarter-sawn walnut partitions also serve as distinguishing focal points.

A cozy bar exudes warmth via custom overhead brass lighting and an expansive antique mirror installed upon the backbar to reinforce views of the side street. “It’s like Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks,” Shillitto adds. “We thought a lot about what the restaurant may look like from the point of view of the passerby.” Plus, a rotating collection of work from ceramicists, photographers, and other artists further nod to Blamey’s roots and her New York journey.

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