Mesa’s Chef Raul Reyes Shows Off His Recycling Skills on CNN


We love Mesa, and so, apparently, does CNN. Reporter Ed Lavandera visited our 2011’s Best New Restaurant and discovered what Nancy calls a “DIY dream,” as a result of owner/chef Raul Reyes’ “relentless dumpster diving.” From Nancy’s November 2011 review of Mesa comes this full description:


The interior is as stunning as the food. Colorful cactus blooms poke from shallow holes carved into a brick wall. A row of old wooden pallets has been sanded, stained, and backlit with rope lights. They hang on the main wall lined with banquettes. The community table was built with wood Reyes salvaged from the fence that once surrounded the restaurant’s dumpster. The railing at the entrance and the wall hangings were created from scraps of metal rescued from trash bins at Wooten Metal. Several customers have tried to buy the large mirror Reyes framed with acid-washed tin. The dining room is so personal that you can’t help but feel like you are eating in someone’s home.

Ed Lavandera sounds incredulous as he interviews Reyes, who was feeling some financial pressure only last June.


Ed: Raul, everything in the restaurant, you found dumpster diving and trash bins? Most of everything in here is other peoples’ trash?
Raul: Yes. Mmhm.
Ed: So these are just crate pallets that were just thrown.. thrown away?
Raul: Yes.


According to CNN, Reyes is expanding his business and still scrounging for more recycled materials. It’s good to hear that Mesa isn’t in trouble anymore.