“They’re the soul of this restaurant.”

The Beatrice Inn
Credit: Dave Katz

This Cinco de Mayo will be different at New York’s Beatrice Inn. Instead of celebrating with her usual array of dry-aged beefy behemoths, chef Angie Mar (a 2017 F&W Best New Chef) is turning over the kitchen to her staff this coming Friday. Their mission: dream up an adventurous menu centered around the Mexican canon, which diners will wash down with Casa Dragones blanco and joven tequilas.

You can reserve online through OpenTable as well as walk in (since the menu will also be available at the bar). Here’s why she does it—and why you should book your seat ASAP.

It Puts Her Cooks in the Spotlight

“It first started with Lucero Ramales, my sous chef,” says Mar. “I wanted to give her a day to cook her grandmother’s mole, her mother’s posole and to really celebrate her.”

Now, it’s become a celebration of the whole kitchen staff. Sous chef Ed Szymanski is in charge of the tasting menu, which will feature surf clam ceviche with fried crickets and mole made with pig’s blood.

“I have this day where we are celebrating not only Lucero’s heritage but really what this restaurant industry is made of,” says Mar. “These are the new stars of the culinary industry.”

It Trains Her Kitchen Crew in Restaurant Operating 101

This one-day menu takeover is also an opportunity for Mar to put her sous chefs Ramales, Szymanski and Nicole Averkiou through a mini leadership bootcamp.

“I don’t weigh in on anything,” she says. “Ed, Lucero and Nicole lead the charge. They sit down as a group, talk about what they want to eat and what they want to cook.”

The team gets full creative control, but also the not-so-glamorous tasks of running a restaurant, like costing out the food and figuring out pricing.

The Bea’s Team Always Craves Mexican Food

“We run 14-16 hour days here, and on any given night, you’ll find my cooks and me at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. at the taco truck on the corner of 8th Avenue and 14th Street,” says Mar. “It’s comfort food.”

Not only is this soulful of cooking part of her cooks’ backgrounds, but it’s become part of hers. “I always joke when I write my memoir, it will be called Dead Animals and Mexican Food,” Mar says.