La Casita Mexicana, the celebrated Mexican restaurant in Bell owned by chefs Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu, is expanding to take over the space next door, which used to be a barber shop. The expansion will connect the restaurant with the store the chefs also own two doors down, La Tiendita Mexicana, which sells Mexican folk art, jewelry, candies, jarred moles, toys and gift baskets.

The renovation will change the dimensions of the long, skinny restaurant to a squarer, more wide-open feel, and the owners hope it will create more of the atmosphere of a marketplace, with the middle building serving as a kind of bridge between the restaurant and the store. There will be extra restaurant seating, as well as more space for patrons to wait for a table during the busy weekend hours. The kitchen also is expanding slightly.

As always, art will play a big part in the newly designed space. No word yet on whether the restaurant will lose its iconic wall of 3-D fruit (although we suspect so, seeing as it seems the only logical wall to lose to connect the adjoining spaces), but if it goes, there will be plenty more colorful Tlaquepaque folk art to make up for it.

While the barber shop space looks newly gutted as of yesterday, the folks at La Casita Mexicana say they hope to have the new space up and running by Valentine's Day next week.

See also:

La Casita Mexicana Introduces Its Bottled Mole Paste

Best Mexican Churros

10 Best Moles in Los Angeles

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LA Weekly