Tuesday, August 9, 2022

El Camino West Palm Beach is a Visual Feast

El Camino is bringing its authentic Mexican cuisine to The Square in West Palm Beach. The restaurant brand has garnered quite the stellar reputation over the years as it expands to new locations across South Florida. Yes, the authentic Mexican cuisine and cocktails are delicious, but the interior decor lends itself to the overall experience of dining at El Camino. Opening its doors this holiday weekend, diners will not only get to indulge in the made-from-scratch fare and refreshing margaritas, but also take in the $6 million interiors. 

Totalling 8,500 square feet, Manhas Design was tasked with creating the “authentic, industrial, inspired” interiors and exteriors that make El Camino a true standout in the foodie scene. Pam Manhas, founder and principal of Manhas Design, is the creative force behind all the El Camino locations. 

Photo courtesy of Manhas Design

The original interior concept started with El Camino’s first location, Delray Beach, boasting lots of history and character. “Conceptually, we have approached all of our locations as old warehouse spaces that we have inhabited. We have created a textural history in each location by exposing structural elements and leaving rough concrete walls untouched. We respect the history of our spaces and our local context,” shares Manhas.

Keeping the integrity of the textural design palette and overall aesthetic, the approach to the West Palm Beach location was to evolve the design into a more sophisticated version of the previous locations. Manhas says that, “In West Palm Beach, we wanted to create a stronger connection with the exterior. We placed several trees throughout the interior space and installed large warehouse windows to open views of the adjacent treetops outside. Every part of the design has stepped up a notch, both operationally and aesthetically.”

Photo courtesy of Manhas Design

When asked what is her favorite design element, without any hesitation, Manhas says that it’s the interior island bar. In fact, the entire bar area is elevated, producing an amazing dynamic between the bar and the dining areas. Another great aspect of the new location is its expansive patio, perfect for al fresco dining and sipping drinks at the bar under a painted mural dome. Which brings us to the topic of art and the special murals that have become synonymous with El Camino. 

Photos courtesy of Manhas Design

With spray paint can in-hand, artist Ruben Ubiera has produced one-of-a-kind murals combining nature, high-end production, organic beauty, flow and a touch of sexy to all of El Camino’s locations. The artist shares that he “wants the community to identify themselves with the mysterious fun that the El Camino team brings to the table.”

Ubiera’s work flanks the walls of the restaurant, giving the space a “different, new, edgy and sexy vibe where guests can have fun.” The artist is credited with coining the term Postgraffism to capture “the natural evolution of urban art because beauty (or the perception of beauty) changes with time. It evolves as we mature.” He further explains that “Postgraffism is the evolution of graffiti art as a whole—a more thought out, formal, planned elevated realm of urban-derived creativity and visual experimentation, in which concept tries to steal the show from the technique, thus, balancing the end result.” 

Artist Ruben Ubiera

The restaurant brand’s success is a culmination of talents that go beyond the kitchen. Dining at El Camino is an experience for all of the senses. Manhas affirms, “once you come in, you never want to leave.” With its high-energy setting, it’s no wonder that El Camino has amassed a cult following and will continue to do so with its new West Palm Beach hotspot, expecting to serve 50,000 patrons monthly. As for those of us living in Boca Raton, get excited because the next El Camino, set to open in Winter 2023, will be in our own backyard. Ubiera might be right when he says that “all roads lead to El Camino.”

Grand Opening Weekend, July 1 to July 4

700 S Rosemary Ave., Suite 232, West Palm Beach 33401; elcaminofla.com


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