Rosa Mexicano is closed

Without any prior announcement, Rosa Mexicano at 41 Murray has closed permanently. (The Union Square location also closed in November, but that was due to a fire and it will reopen eventually.) This is a loss, especially for local fans of their margaritas (you know who you are).

From the CEO, Christopher Westcott: “Our Tribeca site a test model for how a Rosa Mexicano with a smaller footprint could be styled and managed in the future. We learned a great deal about operational efficiencies … and we are now using these lessons to grow the next generation of Rosa Mexicano restaurants.” The statement added that the company was able to find jobs for many employees at other locations.

Our location opened in October 2015, taking over the Washington Market Tavern space, if you’ll recall. The original Rosa opened on First Avenue and 58th in 1984 — that’s 35 years in the New York City restaurant business, which is, of course, remarkable. Over the years it was both heralded and trashed by the Times reviewers. Founded by a Cuban focused on elevating Mexican cuisine, it went from a small eatery tucked under the 59th Street Bridge to a national chain (there are currently nine total between here and San Fran). Its Lincoln Center location was designed by David Rockwell, to give you a sense of the ascent.

The founders started expanding in the early 2000s; by 2008, bigger private equity money moved in on the deal, and by 2013, the company had named a former Pret a Manger exec as CEO. At that point there were 15 restaurants with sales between $75 million and $100 million, and its average “unit” volume ran about $7 million, according to restaurant trade publications. The average per person check ran $20 to $25 at lunch and $40 to $50 at dinner. In spring 2018, the chain was sold to another private equity firm — TriSpan Rising Stars. At that point there were 12 restaurants nationally.