The future Jorge’s Latin American restaurant at The Waterfront Vancouver is about to enter the build-out phase, and the milestone is accompanied by a change in name: The restaurant will be called DosAlas Latin Kitchen & Tequila Bar.
The name isn’t the only thing that’s been overhauled in the six months since owner Jorge Castro first revealed that he planned to move his existing downtown restaurant, Jorge’s Tequila Factory, to a second floor space overlooking the Grant Street Pier.
The original idea called for the new location to be an elevated version of the Tequila Factory, but Castro said the plan evolved during development into a completely new restaurant concept — so much so that he’s now planning to keep the original downtown restaurant open and debut the waterfront location as a separate brand.
“The concept is so different. It’s not even close to what we have (at the Tequila Factory),” he said. “Even the service style will be different.”
Castro characterizes his six existing restaurants as serving strictly Mexican food, but he said DosAlas will be a broader concept that draws influences from Latin American, South American and Spanish food.
Castro said his goal for the Waterfront location was to challenge himself to go further as a restaurateur, so he began the design process with a trip for inspiration and became convinced that he should start from scratch and create the waterfront concept from the ground up.
“The concept developed after I saw a few restaurants that I loved in Miami,” he said.
DosAlas will have a tapas-style menu, with individual dishes served up as soon as they’re ready — although some of the dishes will be larger items intended to encourage sharing. Broadly, Castro said the goal is to make the food a centerpiece of the evening, getting customers excited about their orders and eager to sample and share.
That ethos will extend to the kitchen itself, which will be open to the dining area to give guests a window into the cooking process.
Castro said he sees the waterfront as a place where large groups of people will come to celebrate, and DosAlas will reflect that environment with colorful drinks and flashy plating. Some of the most popular dishes and drinks at Castro’s current restaurants tend to be the most Instagrammable, so he said he plans to play that up even further for DosAlas.
“They’re a little bit over-the-top on the glassware,” he said.
The DosAlas name emerged as part of the design process, Castro said, because he wanted the restaurant to have a name that told a story. The new name means “two wings” in Spanish and refers to Castro’s wife and the couple’s newborn daughter – and when imagined as butterfly wings specifically, he said, they also symbolize how the waterfront location is a metamorphosis of Castro’s earlier restaurant concepts.
The motif will also be incorporated into the internal design, including a selfie space in the main lobby where visitors can take pictures in front of two stylized wings. The interior decor will draw on both Latin heritage and Pacific Northwest components and imagery, according to a marketing packet shared with The Columbian.
The main bar will be the focal point of the restaurant interior, and DosAlas will also feature a second dedicated bar on the outdoor dining deck. The roof extends over the full deck area, and there will be fire pits for heat and glass windows that can be lowered to fully enclose the deck during the winter.
The shades will allow the deck to become essentially an extension of the indoor area, Castro said, although it will still have its own distinct identity; half of it will be a lounge-style seating area where people can go for casual drinks or to wait for a table.
A permanently open-air deck would have been a deal breaker, Castro said, because the Pacific Northwest climate just doesn’t lend itself to outdoor dining year-round, and the deck has the best views of the river. With the weatherproofing in place, Castro said he expects the deck to become one of the restaurant’s biggest attractions.
“I think it’s going to be the first place people are going to want to sit,” he said.
DosAlas is one of more than a dozen restaurants, bars and wine tasting rooms that have already opened at The Waterfront Vancouver or announced plans to move in, but Castro said he’s confident that his new concept will stand out from the rest.
He said his goal is for the restaurant to achieve $6 million in annual sales, and his biggest concern isn’t the competition but the parking; whether the waterfront will be able to accommodate all of the traffic that will be drawn to the area in the coming years.
Tenant improvements for DosAlas aren’t underway yet, but Castro said they should be started in a matter of weeks once the final permitting comes in. The restaurant is targeting a mid-June opening date.