“Mexican New World”-themed restaurant Sazón is set to reopen Thursday following a monthslong shutdown of the fine-dining establishment because of a May 12 fire.
Fire damage was limited to an upstairs office, storage space and a wine cellar, but city inspections and insurance issues delayed the downtown restaurant’s opening for several months, co-owner Lawrence Becerra said.
Becerra said he thought Sazón, on Shelby Street, could reopen as soon as July and then September.
Now, he said, staff members are eager to return to work Thursday evening in time for the height of the holiday season.
“All of our staff has returned,” Becerra said. “We paid everybody full salary for the seven months we were closed. People have been wanting to get back to work for a long time.”
The Sazón menu remains the same, including specialty molés by executive chef and co-owner Fernando Olea. The closure allowed for a professional cleaning of the art in the restaurant. Artwork from Lawrence and Suzanna Becerra’s collection also was added to the walls.
“We added more color, Mexican colors — yellow, oranges and reds — to the main entryway,” Lawrence Becerra said.
New chairs were put in the main dining room, and Becerra described the bar area as “a little cozier” with new furniture that is “a little more modern.”
Sazón, which opened in September 2015, is one of only three AAA Four Diamond restaurants in New Mexico, all in the Santa Fe area. The others are Geronimo and Terra at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe.
Olea was named restaurateur of the year at the 2019 Hospitality Industry Awards by the New Mexico Restaurant Association on Sept. 16, while Sazón was closed.
Sazón also was recognized during its shutdown period for its outstanding wine program in Wine Spectator magazine’s 2019 Restaurant Awards.