Published on June 12, 2017

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Photography by CODY GUILFOYLE

The newest spot to hit NYC’s dining scene comes in the form of a fusion of two unexpected cuisines: vegan and Mexican. Tucked away in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood, Jajaja‘s ambience channels its Mexican-inspired roots, with pops of color, fresh greens, and plenty of contemporary moments. We caught up with the team behind the hot new eatery to get the full tour and to learn a little bit more about their latest venture. Take a look!

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Photography by CODY GUILFOYLE

Vegan and Mexican cuisine aren’t a common pairing. What inspired this fusion?

Who doesn’t love Mexican food? It’s an incredible cuisine that’s even better when turned completely plant-based. Historically, Mexican food has been very plant-driven. They’ve long incorporated ingredients such as corn, beans, agave, pumpkin, coconut, avocado, chia, nopales (cactus), and more in their dishes – they are all extremely health-driven and have amazing flavors. What we love about Mexican food in general is that it’s interactive – you share it, use your hands to it eat, and it incorporates Mezcal & Tequila which, essentially ensures an extra good time.
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How would you describe the aesthetic of the restaurant? 

We wanted you to feel like you’ve transported elsewhere, when walking through our doors. Think Tulum’s aesthetic mixed with California vibes. It was all about creating an environment that was fun and unique. 
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Can you walk us through some of the decorative elements of the space? We’d love to learn more about the color scheme, the plants, and chic flooring. So many good things!

Our designers, Nima and Koorosh, were very hands-on in the design process. The vision for the space always remained skewed towards the feminine. They wanted round edges, bright and vibrant colors, and diverse textures, which one would normally find in South America. Think materials such as plaster or terracotta.

Restaurants are living breathing things, so they also incorporated succulents and cacti, to bring more life and brightness to the space. The floor was a discovery! It is the original tile from over 100 years ago when an ice cream parlor occupied the space. They uncovered it through four layers of flooring and just knew that the history and quality craftsmanship needed to be preserved.

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Jajaja’s Nachos come loaded with corn chips, chorizo, Turmeric queso fundido, fermented black beans, and a spicy veggie relish.

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Describe Jajaja in three words.

Fun, delicious, vibes!
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The team also imported Mexican tiles, sinks for the bathroom, and custom fabrics for the banquettes to emulate the authentic vibe. 

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The Mushroom Taco features a tomato-beet tortilla and comes filled with Portobello strips, Beech mushrooms, a cashew cotija, cabbage, pico de gallo, and bell peppers.  

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Don’t miss out on the Margarita Sangria!

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Visit Jajaja at 162 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

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Photography by CODY GUILFOYLE

Read More:

Where to Find the Best Tacos in New York City
Mexican Street Food You Can Make at Home
The Tropical, Chili Fruit Cups We’re Making on Cinco de Mayo