On Eighth Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, one wall stands out among the many gray skyscrapers and brick facades that are part of the landscape in this section of New York City. Temerario, Chelsea’s newest Mexican restaurant and the fifth concept from the Jorge Guzman Hospitality Group, stands out among the other buildings with its bright, street art–inspired mural painted on its exterior.
Temerario literally means reckless, but the term is used in Mexico to refer to a sense of adventure. That adventurous spirit has been a source of inspiration for Jorge Guzman, creative director for Temerario and CEO of his eponymous hospitality group.
The inspiration for Temerario came to Guzman after a trip to Mexico City with Chef Mario Hernandez, where they found “all kinds of cooking.”
From small taquerias to fine dining, the city proved to be a haven for adventurous eating. “I thought it would be a great [culture] to bring to Chelsea,” Guzman explains. “I wanted to add some street art to this neighborhood and incorporate Mexican street food.”
For Chef Hernandez, Temerario’s menu is an opportunity to showcase the flavors of his childhood and pay tribute to the street foods of Mexico. He grew up in Cuernavaca, an hour south of Mexico City.
“I’m trying to re-create the flavors that I remember and bring them to tables here in the U.S.,” he says. The menu features familiar dishes that American diners might recognize, as well as the bold Mexican flavors that are essential to the street food cuisine.
The Temerario Burger uses short ribs and comes on a black brioche bun, made with chili ash. The Chamoy Salad features a vinaigrette made with chamoy, or pickled fruit, which is a cornerstone of Mexican street food.
“We are trying to bring those flavors that people don’t usually experience in Mexican food,” he says, adding that guests have embraced the different flavors as well as the adventurous spirit of the menu and the festive dining experience. “It’s definitely not boring,” he laughs.
Street art is also part of the restaurant’s interior décor. Guzman commissioned Chilean street artist Dasic Fernandez to create art that matched the adventurous spirit of the food and drink.
“We wanted to do something that would make the restaurant stand out,” Guzman says, adding that the ambiance projects energy and Temerario has a very hip vibe, "which is what you want for a bar concept.”