Shawmut is pleased to announce the opening of Alma, an upscale Mexican restaurant and first U.S. concept for Grupo Hunan, one of Mexico’s largest independent restaurant groups.

Shawmut partnered on the 7,260 square-foot Alma with designer Cuaik Architects and architect RC Architecture. The two-story space from the renowned Mexico City restaurant group provides guests with two different experiences. The first floor offers a marketplace, cocktail bar, and walk-up taqueria with casual patio dining. The second floor is full-service fine dining, with authentic Mexican cuisine served with a Southern California twist.

“Alma brings an unforgettable restaurant concept to The Grove and introduces LA—and the U.S.—to Grupo Hunan’s ultimate dining experience,” said Greg Skalaski, executive vice president of Shawmut’s West region. “Being entrusted with the construction of Alma is a testament to our local market expertise and talented team, acting as true partners to Grupo Hunan in bringing their first stateside restaurant to life.”

Inspired by both Mexico and Southern California, the restaurant boasts a coastal palette, with up to 20 different types of handmade tiles from Mexico including hand-painted Talavera and Travertine tiles. The second floor features an inlay ceiling and six arches filled with rattan—a material authentic to Mexico. A custom sliding door system allows for a free flow between the dining room and balcony.

The Grove remained fully occupied and operational during Alma’s construction, and the Shawmut team seamlessly worked to mitigate disturbances. To that end, the team installed the restaurant’s new escalator in one night—removing the barricade, bringing the escalator inside in two pieces, hoisting it into place, connecting the two pieces, and reinstalling the barricade—all while keeping everyone safe.

Creating an inviting exterior that introduces guests and passersby to the Alma aesthetic, the patio includes new awnings, planters, and hand-painted, patterned Talavera tile complemented by blue, beige, and brown-hued tiles. A perfect location, the patio faces The Grove’s famed fountain.

Media coverage: Eater LA