Richard Sandoval is on the move. He has restaurants across the country and around the world, including Zengo, La Biblioteca, and Four at Yotel in New York. Now, the Mexican restaurateur is trying his hand at Peruvian cuisine with the opening of Raymi in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. This comes hot on the heels of his launch of the 10-year-old Pampano’s cocktail lounge, the Botaneria, and the addition of Tequileria Maya in Midtown, an expansion of his newly-renovated Maya restaurant, which he opened 15 years ago. We caught up Sandoval to get the scoop on the renovation, the new addition, and more.
“Dining styles and menu preferences are changing,” Sandoval says of Maya’s new look and menu. “Maya has been a dining destination on the Upper East Side for delicious Mexican food, but throughout the years, the restaurant became outdated and the food and décor needed a refresh.”
Obviously, Sandoval has been doing something right, given his growing empire of more than two dozen restaurants. While all his other venues lean toward Mexican-with-a-twist (Zengo has an Asian bent) Raymi is his first that deals with Peruvian food. Sandoval got the idea after meeting chef Jaime Pesaque, formally of Mayta
in Lima, who brought up the idea of opening a restaurant like this in New York.
“I saw how he brought Peruvian cuisine to life and how passionate he was about the culture and flavors, like how I am about Mexico,” says Sandoval. “Raymi fits into the group because Jaime and I share the same love for life and for food.”
While Raymi is Sandoval’s first Peruvian restaurant, this cuisine has slowly been growing in the city with Gaston Acurio’s international transplant La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
, Coco Roco
in Brooklyn, and the Pio Pio
chain across the city. If everything goes well with the launch, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Raymi expand to other cities soon.