When Ana Beaven first opened Cuchara, her modern Mexico City-style eatery in Montrose, she found a problem not uncommon to restaurateurs. Her nopales were served with a tiny straw donkey toy on top, and customers found them so adorable that they frequently took the donkeys home.
Unlike most restaurant owners, however, Beaven saw this as an opportunity. After months of compliments on the restaurant's unique tabletop objects used throughout a service, she returned to Mexico to find the same small-town artisan who created her original stock and convinced them to let her sell their wares.
Thus Cuchara Market was born. Available at the restaurant and online, Beaven has stocked up on clay tumblers, candleholders, saucers, and pots with lids—she swears by the material's natural ability to absorb temperatures and hold on to the warmth of a sauce or keep a drink ice-cold. There are also talavera glasses and bowls and both the comals that cook tortillas and the woven baskets that keep them warm during a meal. You'll also find colorful extras like cloth napkins and wooden salsa bowls carved into adorable pigs.
Most of the products are handmade in a traditional process that dates back generations, and according to Beaven the new venue for their wares has inspired some to modernize their designs—but not too much.
"I went back to see get more inventory, and they told me 'Look, we added pink,'" says Beaven. "When they've been using the same colors their whole lives, that's a big deal."
Cuchara Market tabletop products and accessories range from $1-$16, and to see them in action Beaven also offers a special prix fixe meal Sunday through Thursday that includes many of the objects throughout the service.