Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo

Chef Richard Papier

15:00 August 04, 2014
By: Leith Tigges

Araña Taqueria Y Cantina's Executive Chef Discusses It's Upcoming Opening

Come August 12, Magazine Street will be the home to Araña Taqueria Y Cantina, a new and authentic Mexican-style spot specializing in the culinary traditions and delights of the Yucatan. Customers can look forward to a menu featuring a variety of lunch and dinner plates all crafted by Executive Chef, Richard Papier. In a city filled with gumbo and crawfish, there's always room for some delicious Mexican food.

WYAT: Araña will feature authentic Mexican cuisine inspired by the culinary traditions of the Yucatan. For those who have not experienced the foods of Yucatan, what can they expect?

RP: Our focus is on clean, authentic flavors; somewhat of a "throwback" to flavors of the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. Our meats will be slow-braised and cooked in banana leaves and dishes will be well-seasoned with spices indigenous to Mexico like achiote (a native product to Mexico used to marinate meats for tacos or additional menu items). Its' all about emphasizing the authenticity through fresh, high-quality ingredients. We'll be sticking to the classics all the way to our cocktails, offering traditional palomas and margaritas with fresh-squeezed lime juice, a variety of aguas frescas (Mexican-style drinks made from fresh fruits), drunken horchatas (rice blended with rum, milk, cinnamon and vanilla), and of course tequila with our Mezcal and tequila flights.

WYAT: In your opinion, why is authentic cooking so important in a restaurant?

RP: Authentic cooking is all about feeling the love and passion coming through the dish that inspired the person cooking it. I was fortunate to receive my Mexican culinary training from Guillermo Peters, Mexico-native known by many locals as "the New Orleans area's most ambitious Mexican chef." I feel it is important to honor what he's taught me and bring the culinary traditions of Mexico and the Yucatan to our city, allowing locals the chance to experience these flavors. People in our city really appreciate authenticity in cooking, and I enjoy bringing it to them.

WYAT: New Orleans is currently home to many Mexican-inspired restaurants. How do you plan to differentiate yourself?

RP: We're trying to not only bring the food of Mexico to New Orleans, but the ultimate feel—through our ambiance, music, and of course the drinks. We'll have the basics, but we want our customers to really learn about our unique items, those items that aren't on your traditional "tex-mex" menus. We'll be promoting unique menu items daily on our restaurant menu boards to educate our customers on traditional Mexican flavors and dishes.

WYAT: What menu item or dish are you most looking forward to introducing to New Orleans?

RP: We're excited to introduce our entire menu, it's hard to pick just one item! Our Borrego en Mole Rojo is a favorite; the dish features braised lamb loin chops, red mole, warm chipotle tomatillo and red onions. You'll have to come by to check out the rest!

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