Michael and Maria Oseguera thought they had it all figured out.
New restaurant concept? Check. A venue for said new restaurant concept? Check. A name for the venture? Well, not so much.
The husband-and-wife team behind downtown restaurant Maya is opening its newest concept, Pink Flamingo, in the former Pasture restaurant space at 416 E. Grace St.
The new restaurant is slated to open by mid-October. The Osegueras had intended for it to be under a different name – Cabo – until they heard about it from a similarly named business: Blacksburg-based Cabo Fish Taco.
“We had gotten a letter from their lawyer basically saying the Cabo name we were going to use for our restaurant was already taken and trademarked by them, and that we needed to find another name,” Michael Oseguera said. “But luckily, we had a backup.”
The couple leased the space in July shortly after Pasture closed for business on June 8. Reilly Marchant with Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer represented the landlord in the transaction.
Pasture – opened in 2011 by co-owner and chef Jason Alley, and business partners Michele Jones and Ry Marchant – was among the first restaurants to open along what’s become sort of a restaurant row along that stretch of East Grace Street.
Pink Flamingo is located a few yards from Maya, the Osegueras’ modern Mexican restaurant at 525 E. Grace St.
“It’s been a word that I like to use with my daughters, like a catchphrase we like to use,” Michael said of Pink Flamingo. “They like to say it, and we say it to each other.”
Despite having to change the name of the venture at the last minute, Michael said the concept of beach street food will remain the same.
“It’s going to be a coastal taco and ceviche bar,” Michael said.
Menu items include the Flamingo Cocktail, the restaurant’s take on a traditional Mexican campechana, which is made with a citrus-centric sauce that is mixed with octopus, oysters and shrimp.
On top of ceviche and campechana dishes, Michael said Pink Flamingo also will serve Mexican sandwiches and tacos, many of which can be found on Maya’s existing menu and will be permanently transferred to the new establishment.
“To keep the concepts separate, we’re going to move several of the tacos that we have on Maya’s menu to Pink Flamingo, and backfill those missing menu items with a few favorites from our former Lucca Enoteca menu … such as our coal-fired pizzas and pasta dishes,” Michael said, referring to the Italian restaurant the couple launched in 2016 before switching over the concept to Maya that same year.
Pink Flamingo also will include a ceviche- and tortilla-making station in the center of the 4,000-square-foot restaurant space, where guests can witness how their tortillas and ceviche dishes are being prepared, Michael said.
“We’re going to be relocating our existing machine at Maya’s to Pink Flamingo, since the bulk of our tacos are going to be featured at that location,” he said.
Beer and wine also will be served, along with signature cocktails, Michael said. An ABC license for the establishment is pending.
Overall, Michael said they are investing about $150,000 into the space, which will seat about 90 people, including 16 at the bar and 12 on the patio. The restaurant will employ about 30 people.
Pink Flamingo also is working with third-party food delivery services, such as GrubHub and UberEats, to expand its dine-out options to other parts of the city. Michael said it is considering adding catering.
“It just makes sense for us to add those types of services, given our location,” he said.
Pink Flamingo joins an established lineup of Latin options in the Grace Street corridor.
Besides Maya, Ay Caramba opened a year ago in the former Kenn-Tico Cuban Bar & Grill at 204 E. Grace St. Wong Gonzalez, an Asian and Mexican fusion concept next door at 412 E. Grace St., is in its third year of business.