With its strung lights, interior greenery, expansive mezcal library, and authentic eats inspired by owner Lane Harlan’s beloved Oaxaca, Mexico, Clavel already has plenty of charm. But come fall, the cozy Remington restaurant will boast even more to write home about.
Harlan’s team will soon begin transforming a garage attached to the building into a Sinaloan-inspired cevicheria with additional seating and a dance floor—a project which she says has been percolating for a while now.
In addition, they are working on opening a beer garden in the nearby Old Goucher neighborhood that will serve beer, wine, and cocktails. The new beer garden is slated to open in the spring.
“We’ve been trying to expand Clavel since the first six months we were in business,” Harlan says. “As our ceviche menu keeps growing, we’ve felt strongly about doing much more but never had the space.”
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Clavel recently acquired the next-door garage—which was formerly used as a storage unit—and plans to knock down the adjoining wall to expand the restaurant’s kitchen with a cold side designated for seafood prep.
While the tacqueria and mezcaleria will continue in Clavel’s current space, the new area will feature an expanded lineup of ceviches and flexible seating that can open up to allow for dancing in the evenings.
Harlan explains that the new space is largely influenced by co-owner and executive chef Carlos Raba’s native Sinaloa, which highlights many laid-back cevicherias.
“They’re all very casual,” she says, mentioning a recent visit to Sinaloa on one of Clavel’s routine staff trips. “It’s where you go to order lots of things to share or stand around drinking beers with friends. It’s really all about eating light and fresh.”
Adds Raba: “Everybody just sits around, eats, and has a fun time. There are always huge plates of ceviche on the table, and sometimes live music coming from the three-piece bands on the beach.”
In keeping with the authentic inspiration, live entertainment is a huge part of the owners’ overall vision for the expansion. Harlan says that the hope is to frequently host local bands and encourage salsa and bolero dancing.
“When we were in Oaxaca, some of the best moments we had were when the dance floor turned into an all-out party,” Harlan remembers. “We really want to bring that lively feeling here.”
Of course, one of the most significant perks of the new space is its additional seating. After two years of operating Clavel in its current digs, Harlan is enthusiastic about hosting more private events and alleviating wait times for locals.
“It’s a big thing for us,” she says. “One thing we really don’t buckle on is the no reservations policy. Some people really don’t like that, but locals really appreciate it because they can just pop in. We want to be a part of the community we’re in above all else.”