March 15, 2020 |
In New York City, the dining scene isn’t just about food; it’s about experience. And with endless options for high-end dining experiences at restaurants where reservations are coveted, the setting is perfectly curated and the food is top quality, it takes more than a good idea to success. For restaurant entrepreneur Santiago Perez, establishing industry-leading contemporary Mexican restaurant Cosme began with finding a hole in the market. Now with two New York veteran restaurants and two more opening this year in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Perez navigates the business with perfect poise.
“For so long, Mexican food has been considered cheap or fattening,” Perez says. “But, there’s so much more to it. We wanted to show the richness and depth of the culture.”
After leaving his finance job at UBS, Perez fully transitioned into the restaurant business with Cosme’s opening in 2015 in Manhattan’s bustling Flatiron District. In a time when upscale Mexican dining didn’t exist, Perez saw what the New York restaurant scene lacked and thereafter redefined the Mexican dining experience with the birth of Cosme. Together with celebrity chef Enrique Olvera and Daniela Sotto Innes, who was recently named World’s Best Female Chef, Perez constructed an all-star team to bring the restaurant to life.
“A lot of elements of the Mexican culture are often misinterpreted,” says Perez. “This leaves a big window of opportunity to in the hospitality and restaurant space.”
While Mexican culture is unquestionably engrained in his endeavors, Perez is careful not to let the concept of Mexican food define any of his restaurants. Each one possesses its own personality and character as they are enriched with the essence of Mexican culture.
Since its opening, Cosme has earned recognition by the James Beard Foundation and additionally as one of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. He has also gone on to open another restaurant in Manhattan—Atla, a more casual upscale Mexican restaurant in Noho. But for Perez, launching one successful restaurant was not the goal. Instead, he saw an opportunity for Cosme to function as a platform for him and his business partners to create a legacy of restaurants not only in New York, but nationally.
With the meteoric success of Cosme and Atla backing him, this year Perez looks forward to opening restaurants Damian in Los Angeles in the arts district and Elio at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas in March. To learn more about Santiago Perez and groundbreaking restaurant endeavors, follow him on Instagram. (Link IG @santiago.perez)