Exclusive: Josef Centeno Will Open Baco Downtown

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The Lazy Ox himself, Josef Centeno, plans to open a second downtown spot—this one dedicated to the almighty baco—by the end of summer, 2011. The “casual, neighborhood restaurant” will be situated at 4th and Main Streets in the spaces now occupied by Banquette and the bookstore nextdoor. “I’m really excited to be in the Old Bank district,” Centeno says. “I love its architectural bones, and it’s blocks away from Lazy Ox, which means I’ll be able to go back and forth easily.”

For the uninitiated, the baco is a sort of flatbread creation that Centeno dreamed up back at Maison G. “I’m really going to be showcasing the bread. I feel like I’ve perfected the recipe and I realized that there’s so much versatility with it.” On top of the focused selection of bacos, Centeno promises an extended menu with ingredient driven dishes that “complement the baco,” and a beer and wine list that will feature small producers and craft beers. 

This will be the first solo venture for Centeno, who opened Lazy Ox with partner Michael Cardenas just over a year ago. “I’ve been working on the idea for years,” he says. “Everything finally just fell into place, with a lot of pushing from me.” 

To be clear, the chef swears he’ not leaving Lazy Ox, and tells us he gets the keys to the new space on June 1. Does late summer sound a little ambitious? Uh, yeah. “I’m trying to obtain all the permits now so that by the time I get in there I’ll be able to start construction right away. ” Mmmmhmm, that’s what they all say. Here’s hoping.