mayo ketchup features dishes from puerto rico, the dominican republic and cuba. photo by lauren healey

First Look: Mayo Ketchup in Lafayette Square

Mandy Estrella, aka Plantain Girl, has spent the last four years perfecting her takes on the cuisine of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba via pop-ups, catering and other projects. On Wednesday, Aug. 28, she and partner Bradley Payne will open the first solo restaurant, Mayo Ketchup, named after Puerto Rico’s favorite condiment.

The fast-casual eatery is located at 2001 Park Ave., in Lafayette Square and features approximately 100 seats, including 14 seats outside. Estrella, Payne and their crew turned around the space, which most recently housed Mexican eatery Laredo, in just six weeks. 

The decor is clean, bright and simple, a reflection of Estrella’s culinary philosophy. Photo prints of Cuban scenes by photographer Robert Bullivant and colorful paintings from local artist Elena Nunez adorn the pale pastel walls.

The Mayo Ketchup menu features appetizers, sides, sandwiches, bowls and desserts, many incorporating, naturally, plantains, including a variety of tostones – twice-fried plantains – served with a multitude of accompanying ingredients from avocado to queso. Estrella said the restaurant will open without alcoholic beverages on the menu, but that a small selection of spirited drinks will be served once the liquor license is approved.

Mayo Ketchup will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Here’s a look at Lafayette Square’s latest. 

Matt Sorrell is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine.