Los Angeles natives Otto Cedeno and Chef Joe LoNigro have brought their L.A.-style taqueria, Otto's Tacos, to New York's East Village.

Working with Wid Chapman Architects, they turned a nondescript 580-square-foot space, which over the past several years had held several food and retail concepts, into a welcoming, casual restaurant with its own distinct style.

The 12-seat, fast-casual operation specializes in freshly made tortillas and boldly flavored tacos. Authenticity drives the menu and also influenced the design vision, which the architect describes as "rustic in materials, yet modern in composition."


Key materials used include concrete flooring and reclaimed wood to give the interior rustic and warm tones contrasted by liberal use of blackened steel. Says Wid Chapman, "The wood planks on the walls were a fun, stylized choice based on a desire to use reclaimed wood, but in an iconic way. Staggering the depths of the planks and employing several different species' sources gave the surfaces their unique quality. The wood plank design has now become part of their nascent brand; it's the logo of the space."