Photo by Stephanie Breijo
Chef Owen Lane's pig head tamale was a standout dish at Estilo
After nearly two years serving well-spiced, thoughtful Latin American-influenced fare to the West End, Estilo has shuttered its doors.
"Josh [Bufford] and I have loved delivering this unique and delicious food to Richmond for the last couple of years," co-owner Jessica Bufford said in a news release this afternoon. "We are proud of what we accomplished and so thankful for the patrons who have been adventurous with us as we tried and introduced new dishes and new ingredients to the Richmond area."
Despite winning numerous awards — including last year's Elby award for Best New Restaurant — and enlisting The Magpie's chef Owen Lane as executive chef and co-owner, the restaurant in the Village Shopping Center closed quietly over the weekend. According to Bufford, Estilo's end can be attributed in part to the family's first child, due soon, and their anticipated inability to focus on the restaurant to the full extent it deserves.
"As our family is growing any day now we know that continuing to offer local ingredients and precisely prepared dishes will require more work and time than we truly have the capacity for," wrote Bufford, who could not be reached for comment.
Lane, whose last day was Saturday, retooled the menu in January and contributed an adventurous, creative, and delicious take on Estilo's original Latin American concept, delivering stellar items like pig-head tamale and house-cured, Latin-spiced sausages, which, sadly, are now without home. (Though you'd be remiss not to visit his skills at The Magpie.)
"I love the food that we were putting together," says Lane. "It was awesome that Josh and Jess thought of me and gave me the opportunity to take over their restaurant," he added. "Obviously people always wish it would be the opposite way, but in my case it looks like it can't be; it looks like The Magpie is it for me."
But the Buffords, who also co-own Hutch, Toast and Shoryuken Ramen, say they have more projects in store for the Estilo space.
"We have become engrained in the lives of so many of our guests over the past three years through Toast and Estilo, that we want to bring the neighborhood something new, yet something that fits the style that Josh and I have become known for and can deliver," wrote Bufford. "You know we are always working on something!! We look forward to bringing that to the Estilo location very soon."