Newly opened, Her Name Was Carmen embodies the essence of Latin America — bringing a laidback yet spirited vision in both contemporary food and nuanced, nostalgic design to a coveted corner in West SoHo.
Split across two spacious floors on Broome Street, Her Name Was Carmen offers a differentiated and unique experience — welcoming guests to dine on a simple menu, showcasing fresh seafood before making their way downstairs for eclectic music and lowkey cocktails.
With more than 15 years of hospitality experience between them, co-founders Thatcher Shultz (of Make Believe, Kind Regards, and The Garret) along with Andres Diaz, of Colombian heritage, who was at the helm of the bar programming at Felix for many years and developed the popular Tropicana parties throughout NYC, have combined forces in creating Her Name Was Carmen.
Compelled by his Latin Roots, Diaz dreamt of bringing an elevated Latin American concept to the city. It was this, along with Shultz’ knowledge of hospitality ventures in Downtown Manhattan, that the duo realized that a void needed to be filled.
This special venue is a haven for New Yorkers who appreciate well-curated bites, craft mixology, and a refined atmosphere perfectly integrated to the beat of a global soundtrack.
“Although I’m from Colombia Her Name was Carmen is not married to any particular country, we want to express the very best of Latin culture and cuisine and build a new type of high-end brand with a twist.” — Andres Diaz, Co-founder.
Addressing Soho’s sophisticated neighborhood, Shultz and Diaz enlisted a pioneering team to execute their vision that includes branding by Pop Up Mob, design by Maurizio Bianchi Mattioli and execution by Angus McIntosh (Yakka Studios), culinary wisdom from Peruvian chef Omar Ben Hammou (Formerly sous chef at Le Bernadin), drink concepts by Damien Aries (Experimental Cocktail Club Paris), head sommelier Yuval Bar-Kokhba and sounds from music curator and producer Nacho Isa (WARMTH and 343 Labs).
“We’ve been ideating on this concept for some time now and have poured a lot of love and labor into bringing something different to New York. The creative team we’ve assembled to bring this vision to life shares our passion, bringing an emotional connection to everything we do — food, drink, design and music.” — Thatcher Shultz, Co-founder.
The design inspiration comes from 50s and 60s modernism being introduced in Latin America from Europe and incorporates both tropical and muted tones to bring a Latin modern approach to the space.
Deep blues, dusky pinks and graphic expressions together with finishes such as terracotta, wood, terrazzo and brass details create a timeless elegance which — when layered within the Latin ambiance — will result in something bold yet elegant for the sleepier side of Soho.
The introduction of nature within the space is also materialized with a vivid painting artwork by Simon Vargas, whose focus ranges from cultural awareness, to environmental sustainability, to anthropological exploration. The restaurant can do 65 covers in the main restaurant and host 150 guests in the downstairs area.
Chef Ben Hammou’s simple seafood menu — featuring an array of both raw and cooked options — all infused with Latin Soul — offer a fresh selection of light-bites and main courses, like vegan ceviche with avocado, tomato yuzu gel, red quinoa and shiso, Hamachi served with avocado, jalapeno emulsion and rice crackers, urchin pasta with urchin butter and lemon confit, and short rib served with mashed potatoes, Iberico ham crumble, mushrooms and red wine roti. Ben Hammou has teamed up with celebrated pastry chef Victoria Louise, also Peruvian, who will be creating the dessert offerings, along with a bespoke Her Name Was Carmen ice cream flavor created by local artisan creamerie Van Leeuwan.
On the heels of his global experience working in the kitchens of Dom (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Attica (Melbourne, Australia) and Le Floris (Geneva, Switzerland). Chef Ben Hammou’s extensive travels have afforded him a unique perspective. After landing in New York, he worked at Le Bernardin (3 Michelin Stars) as the Head Saucier and Met Breuer’s Flora Bar as the Senior Sous Chef.
“As a chef, I’ve been lucky enough to cook and train all around the world, but nothing gets me more excited than bringing food from my native South America to the rest of world — especially New York City, which I’ve been lucky enough to call home for some time now,” said Chef Ben Hammou. “We’ve been relentless in creating these soulful recipes, searching high and low for the finest ingredients to make our dishes authentic — but also upholding the NYC standard which, in my opinion, is the standard that sets the bar internationally.”
The unmatched culinary offering is accompanied by musical programming unlike anywhere else in New York City. With Music Director Nacho Isa at the helm, the Latin vibe takes guests from dinner to dancing every night.
Her Name Was Carmen hosts bespoke music-led evenings including tropical infused disco, Latin sounds from Cuba, Colombia, and the Caribbean and tribal, deep house, and afrobeat inspired by melodies across the globe.
Offering a transformative oasis, Her Name Was Carmen is a genuine Latin American retreat for those wanting to snack, dine, drink, and dance.