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Two hands clinking cocktails over plates of Mexican food.
Cochinita pibil and chicken enchiladas at A’Verde.
Forrest Mason Media

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First Look at ‘Top Chef’ Katsuji Tanabe’s Mexican Restaurant A’Verde

The Cary-based establishment opens this Friday

Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

Top Chef alum Katsuji Tanabe will open his Cary restaurant A’Verde at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 18, 2022. The space and the menu reflect Tanabe’s youth in Mexican City with Mexican and Japanese parents. Customers can expect octopus tacos, cohinita pibil, and plenty of local vegetables from okra to butternut squash. “I’m not trying to make a fusion, but I was raised with soy sauce, fish sauce, and togarashi in the kitchen,” he told Eater Carolinas, “So this is Mexican food through the lens of a Mexican-Japanese chef.”

Located at at 2300 Walnut Street, the interiors are splashed in green, from the walls to the plants, to the veladoras on the tables — the name is A’Verde, after all. The restaurant group behind the new venture, LM Restaurants, wanted the interiors to be bright and colorful to reflect the boldness of Tanabe’s menu. Reclaimed mirrors, hanging baskets, and plenty of aged kitchen boards features make for a rustic an homey space. There’s also surprises like the modern Frida Kahlo mural from artist Arianne Hemlein in the tequila room lined with numerous bottles.

Take a tour of the A’Verde before the opening on Friday.

Wooden bar with green accents.
Frida Kahlo overlooks the bar area at A’Verde.
Forrest Mason Media
A colorful mural of Frida Kahlo.
The tequila room is very playful with murals from Arianne Hemlein.
Forrest Mason Media
Frida Kahlo mural.
Expect Instagrams from the tequila room.
Forrest Mason Media
Diablo mural.
These diablo faces will watch over customers in the tequila room.
Forrest Mason Media
Wooden boards hanging from the ceiling.
Worn kitchen boards hang from the ceiling.
Forrest Mason Media
Booths facing a window.
Window seating at A’Verde.
Forrest Mason Media
A mural of lemons.
A citrus mural perks up a booth corner.
Forrest Mason Media
Plants on a divider.
Plants are a big part of A’Verde.
Forrest Mason Media
Wooden seats with wooden tables.
The team wanted a comfortable setting for customers.
Forrest Mason Media
Rustic mirrors on a wall with wallpaper.
Rustic mirrors round out the space.
Forrest Mason Media
Wooden tables and lots of plants in a dining room.
The team wanted to incorporate the colors of Mexico into the dining room.
Forrest Mason Media
Wooden dining room with plants and other green accents.
There’s plenty of seating at A’Verde.
Forrest Mason Media

A’verde [Official]
• ‘Top Chef’ Katsuji Tanabe Shares Details on Forthcoming Mexican Spot in Cary

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