Urbano 116

HGA worked with Common Plate Hospitality to bring authentic cuisine from Mexico City to the heart of Alexandria, presenting an opportunity to savor new gastronomy to the community at Urbano 116.

  • area / size 4,000 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • Type Restaurant,
  • Its street-front location afforded the opportunity to directly embrace the walkable culture of the neighborhood, further unite coexisting cultures, and provide an economic spark to an area that takes pride in its traditions.

    Located within a main commercial artery in historic Alexandria, the building was built in 1885 by brothers Harry and John Aitechson as a machine shop and warehouse and has been used for various retail functions since. The space had been operating as a textile store, with merchandise and arts and crafts classes. The project added an industrial kitchen, restrooms and additional egress to bring the space to code for a restaurant.

    HGA’s design is centered on the concept of engagement with the Old Town community, the Mexican cuisine culture, and features prominently the addition of the first operable storefront window on King Street. At the hydraulic window, passers-by can order tacos during the day and the restaurant’s specialty churros in the evening. This integrated take-out window received unanimous approval from the Board of Architectural Review of Old & Historic Alexandria District.

    The interior seats 160 patrons, and includes a bar, main dining space, and an area for private dining. The materials, colors, and design were inspired by the food and culture of Mexico City’s vibrant dining scene. Authentic “lucha libre” wrestling masks, bright colors, colorful neon signs, and rich textures and patterns are used throughout the space. HGA commissioned a local Mexican artist to hand paint, a large mural of “lucha libre” pioneer Mil Máscaras, the “Man of 1,000 Masks,” which forms the backdrop of the private dining area. In addition, we restored and exposed the existing brick from the original building which shows the character of the 135-year-old building. The restaurant also features all-new energy-efficient lighting and sustainable materials.

    Design: HGA
    Design Team: Ben Webne, J. Patrick Halpin, Vance Cunningham, Shooka Sharafi, Andres Regens
    Photography: Joe Kraus, Rey Lopez, Kate Wichlinski