Kelly Alvarez-Clodfelter and her husband, Rodney (the former sous chef at Piropos), are going to open their own Mexican restaurant, but not in the space they originally considered at 900 Westport Road (where a sign announcing "Xcaret Coming Soon" hung over the door for a year, though nothing ever came). On December 8, the Clodfelters and their partners, Peter and Lisa Alvarez, Mike and Marsha Murray, and Andy and Kelly Collinsworth, will open Maya's Mexican Bistro at 129th Street and State Line Road (the site of the former Bubba's Barbecue). Kelly says the restaurant will offer traditional Mexican-American fare as well as more adventurous dishes, including a marinated pork tenderloin stuffed with chorizo and served on a purée of sweet potatoes.
And if all goes according to plan, actress Missy Koonce will open the glass door to her new piano lounge, Bar Natasha (1907 Main Street), on New Year's Eve. Last week Koonce stood in the middle of the raw space, where construction crews have been installing copper water pipes, metal framing for the concrete bar, plumbing for the kitchen and bathrooms, and firewalls. Koonce hasn't hired a builder for the circular stage she wants to put in the center of the restaurant and nightclub, but it'll have to be big enough to hold the grand piano that she and partner J.D. Mann have bought for the space.
Surrounding that will be twenty cabaret tables, and overstuffed sofas should provide a living-room feeling in three different corners of the room. Two of those sofas will be located by the tall windows opening onto Main Street, so smokers can puff right out into traffic and, Koonce says, "hear the sounds of urban life."
Koonce and Mann have hired chef and cookbook author Lou Jane Temple to create a menu of appetizers and desserts. So far, Temple is planning to feature an assortment of blini with different fillings (including sour cream and caviar), artichoke hummus with pita, smoked-trout mousse with toast points, and crudités with spicy peanut dip. Old Country Buffet it ain't.