In preparation for opening a Mexican "fun fine dining" restaurant in Thirroul, owner and chef Barry Pearson has been doing his research.
What does that involve?
"Eating a lot of Mexican," the co-owner of Thirroul burger joint Papi's laughs.
Off the back of the crew's move into fancier service with the opening of Bar Padre in Kiama Heights, Mr Pearson said he hoped to bring their idea of fun fine dining to Thirroul.
"We've been dining at a lot of places in Sydney that are doing this fun-slash-fine dining Mexican food, and we're really enjoying it."
Mr Pearson lists Bar Patron in Sydney and Mamsita in Melbourne as inspiration, and, based on his experience behind the bar at Papi's, is confident the concept matches the tastebuds of the northern Illawarra.
"People in Thirroul love tequila."
Alongside the agave spirit will be what Pearson calls "coastal Mexican", touring the cuisine south of the Rio Grande, from tacos to steak and lobster.
"If you're trying to impress your date you can get lobster, or if you just love lobster."
Pearson said ingredients will be sourced locally where possible and has been collaborating with current suppliers to dish up Mexican-inspired flavours.
Starting with this concept in mind, Pearson and his team have been scouting the northern suburbs for a spot, and the opportunity arose late last year to move into the former bank building currently occupied by Par.
With preparation almost complete to begin moving into the old Commonwealth Bank, the concept and location combined to give the venture its name - Boveda, Spanish for vault.
On Friday and Saturday nights the namesake safe - which is still in the heritage building - will be the centre of attention, with DJs being brought in to get a dance floor moving.
With renowned music operators Live Nation moving into Anitas Theatre last year, Mr Pearson said he's confident about opening a late-night venue as the area continues to be a hub.
Pearson said the plan expects to be open Wednesday to Sunday from late February.
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