New York restaurants can be cramped, but probably not quite this cramped. At El Papagayo in Argentina, there’s not much elbow room because the entire restaurant is built into an alley.
Architect Ernesto Bedmar bought the land, which he refers to (in translation) as a “corridor,” in Cordoba, Argentina, 32 years ago. Initially, he turned the space into a loft, but as it “started to deteriorate and turned less profitable,” he wrote in ArchDaily, he began looking for a new use for his alley. He met chef Javier Rodriguez and the idea for El Papagayo was born.
The finished space is less than eight feet wide (2.4 meters) but is 105 feet long and almost 23 feet high. The basic plan manages to squeeze in six two-tops, five four-tops and even a long table capable of seating parties of ten. Of course, it has a kitchen, but it also manages to squeeze in three bathrooms and an upstairs office. To liven up the potentially dark space, the ceiling is almost entirely glass, allowing natural light to pour in.
The restaurant opened earlier this year, and if Yelp is any indication, it’s worth cramming into the alley.
So now the question becomes, which celebrity chef will be the first to bring alleyway dining to America?