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“Top Chef” Whitney Otawka Is a Menu Consultant for a New Restaurant Headed to Atlanta’s Westside

The team behind Beltline restaurant Buena Vida Tapas opens Baja-style restaurant Chicheria MX Kitchen at the Works along Chattahoochee Avenue in 2023

Chicheria is opening at the Works in Underwood Hills.
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Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

The team behind Buena Vida Tapas and Sol on the Eastside Beltline plan to open Chicheria MX Kitchen in 2023 at the Works complex along Chattahoochee Avenue in Underwood Hills. And a Top Chef is consulting on the menu for the restaurant, which will serve “Baja-inspired Mexican fare” when it debuts next summer.

Located on Chattahoochee Row near Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and forthcoming self-service wine bar Taste Wine Bar and Market, owners Juan Sebastian Calle and Adam Berlin tapped cookbook author and chef Whitney Otawka to serve as a menu consultant for the restaurant focused on dishes from the Baja Peninsula with ingredients like handmade blue corn tortillas.

Otawka is no stranger to Atlanta’s dining scene, or to creating fresh coastal and in-season dishes, having worked for Hugh Acheson at his Athens restaurants Five and Ten and Cinco y Diez (now closed) and hosting dinners and pop-ups in both Athens and Atlanta over the years. She grew up in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. While writing her cookbook, “The Saltwater Table: Recipes from the Coastal South”, Otawka worked as the executive chef of the Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island, a barrier island just off the Georgia coast.

The menu at Chicheria MX Kitchen will feature dishes such as a Baja fish taco as well as margaritas and Mexican-style chichas (corn-based beer) from the bar, according to the press release. Chica is a fermented corn drink consumed throughout Central and South America in countries like Mexico, Colombia (where Calle hails from), Venezuela, and Peru. A chicheria is where chicha is brewed and served.

Design plans call for a dining room and bar, along with a covered patio overlooking the Spur green space at the complex. A to-go window is also in the works for the restaurant.

Eater reached out to representatives for Chicheria MX Kitchen for more details on the menu.

Chicheria joins locations of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and Scofflaw Brewing Co. already open on Chattahoochee Row. Drew and Brittany Fancher, the owners behind mobile bar business Aero Bar Atlanta, open cocktail lounge Forum Cocktail Club nearby later this year. Brunch restaurant the Waffle Experience, a location of Brash Coffee, dog park and bar Fetch, Taste Wine Bar, a restaurant and rooftop bar from the owners of the Select, and game bar and restaurant Your 3rd Spot all open at the Works in the coming months.

Cinco y Diez

1653 S. Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30606 (706) 850-2020 Visit Website

Scofflaw Brewing Co.

1738 MacArthur Boulevard Northwest, , GA 30318 (404) 343-2832 Visit Website

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

1238 DeKalb Avenue Northeast, , GA 30307 (404) 577-4030 Visit Website

BRASH Coffee

1168 Howell Mill Road, , GA 30318 (404) 829-4389 Visit Website

Buena Vida Tapas & Sol

385 North Angier Avenue Northeast, , GA 30308 (404) 948-2312 Visit Website