HECHO EN DUMBO began in early 2007 as a pop-up operating several nights a week out of a local café in Dumbo, Brooklyn. In March 2010, the restaurant moved into a new and permanent home located at 354 Bowery, between Great Jones and East 4th street.
Chef Danny Mena's menu of antojitos, or "little whims", comprises a small plate dining format of refined rustic Mexican staples and contemporary Mexico City cuisine. Derived from the official "Hecho en México" seal, the name of the restaurant speaks to the authenticity of the cuisine, the local sourcing of organic and sustainable ingredients, and the degree to which fundamental components of Mexican gastronomy - breads, tortillas, salsas, and even cheeses - are made fresh in-house.
In a broader sense, the aim of Hecho en Dumbo is to celebrate aspects of Mexican culture seldom represented in the States. In lieu of antiquated and rural stereotypes, Hecho en Dumbo seeks to evoke the contemporary, cosmopolitan culture of Mexico's vibrant and kinetic urban centers.
Danny Mena is one of New York City’s top Mexican chefs, acclaimed by such publications as Vanity Fair, LA Times, New York Times, Rolling Stone – and Mexican media as well – for the traditional Mexican food he serves at his restaurants Hecho en Dumbo and Sembrado.
After forgoing an engineering career for culinary school and stints at restaurants Blue Hill and The Modern, Mena started Hecho En Dumbo as a small 3-days-a-week offering in a friend’s Brooklyn bar in 2007, quickly outgrowing that space and opening the current Manhattan location in 2010. A Mexico City-style taquería, Sembrado, followed in 2013. Both restaurants reflect Mena’s love for his hometown of Mexico City, and seek to replicate his favorite traditional and contemporary dishes from home with the best ingredients available in the US.
While studying film in Boston, Ethan Smith met his future wife, Monica Ramos, and thus began a love affair with her native Mexico City. The couple moved to NYC in 2004 and Ethan began working in restaurants while freelancing on independent film projects and writing for the screen. When Smith, Ramos, and Chef Mena became roommates in an artists’ loft in DUMBO, Mena and Smith began sharing their passion for Mexican cuisine, spirits, and culture with the neighborhood; operating in the evenings out of a small coffee shop, the ad-hoc restaurant “Hecho en Dumbo” was born. Monica and Ethan married in Oaxaca City, known for its mezcal and arts culture, and in Spring of 2010, Mena and Smith debuted Hecho en Dumbo in its permanent digs on the Bowery.
Issel Campos, native of Mexico City, met Danny and Ethan at the pop-up location in DUMBO and immediately fell in love with the project. She became involved as one of the partners and manager of the restaurant and brought in her knowledge and connections to the Mexico City music scene, which completes the ambiance and idea of Hecho, as a place that showcases the contemporary and cosmopolitan flare of Mexico City.