Héctor Sanz is a visionary restaurateur and founder/president of Quimeria Restaurant Group, which owns Rayuela, Macondo, Barraca and the soon-to-open Melibea. The group is committed to offering memorable dining experiences based on original concepts, culinary excellence and inventive design. Sanz, a lover of literature, film and theater, has distinguished his restaurants by creating an intellectual connection between Latin American and Spanish culture and their cuisines.
Having successfully made his mark on the Lower East Side with the debut of Estilo Libre Latino (Freestyle Latino) cuisine at Rayuela and Macondo, the group’s newest project, Barraca, is a Spanish restaurant in the West Village focused on genuine tapas, paella and sangria. His fourth restaurant, Melibea, will be a contemporary take on modern Spanish cuisine. Both Barraca and Melibea pay tribute to Sanz’ native Spain.
Rayuela, meaning, “hopscotch,” was inspired by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar’s experimental novel from 1963 bearing the same name. Its cuisine playfully mixes and matches ingredients and flavors from across the Latin world. Rayuela earned two stars from the New York Times and three stars from Crain’s New York Business. A wine enthusiast, Sanz personally created Rayuela’s wine list, which includes more than 200 selections from the Spanish-speaking world. His second restaurant, Macondo, was named after the fictional town described in Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and celebrates refined Latin street food. The group’s cofounder, the late Chef Máximo Tejada, led both restaurants.
Prior to Rayuela, Sanz was director of Lucy Latin Kitchen, which earned three stars from Crain’s New York Business and Pipa Tapas Restaurant in ABC Carpet & Home. Previously, Sanz was general manager and wine director of Ola, where he met Chef Máximo. Sanz began his culinary career as general manager of Meritage, after serving as assistant manager of Taperia Madrid and Meigas. In 1999, after a stint studying industrial engineering and philosophy at Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales (ETSII) in Madrid, Sanz left Spain for New York City, where he began building his hospitality career. Sanz was born in the small town of Soria, just two hours from Madrid, where his family still resides.