If you've heard of David Muñoz, chances are, he's made an impression: Not only for his unique image, which breaks down the stereotype of the high-hatted haute cuisine chef; but above all, for his culinary universe: full of flavor, passion, and fusion. The 34-year-old Muñoz is the only three-Michelin-starred chef in Madrid, with his restaurant DiverXO earning that distinction in 2013. But two-and-a-half years ago, Muñoz opened the first outpost of StreetXO, the casual and more affordable version of his fine-dining restaurant. Muñoz has described the Madrid location of StreetXO as the "Cirque du Soleil of gastronomy," featuring Asian-fusion tapas like "Korean lasagna" topped with fried wonton and a "steamed club sandwich" topped with quail egg .
"I always wanted to open four or five StreetXOs around the world," Muñoz says now, noting that StreetXO will expand to London in June, with plans to open in New York City in 2016. Muñoz acknowledges the difficulties of opening his first stateside restaurant: He knows that in the New York market, it's not just about getting there, but being able to stay. "New York is the gate to the world," Muñoz says. "I should say that in terms of business, opening StreetXO in New York is a great challenge. It's probably one of the most demanding cities in the world for culinary concepts. They have so many great restaurants that it is not easy to succeed."
Although Muñoz confirms StreetXO's NYC expansion and timeline, he remains mum about his partners. "I cannot reveal anything yet, but I can say they are very cool," he laughs. "We received four different business proposals for StreetXO in New York City and we chose the best one... there are three possible venues and I am traveling to New York very soon to have a look at them and make a decision. I am very excited about this project."
For his NYC expansion, Muñoz promises a "wild and brutal experience that is only about haute cuisine."
The upcoming restaurant will not be called "StreetXO": Expect an evolution in both the name and the concept itself. Muñoz promises "the concept for New York will evolve towards the wildest version for StreetXO. It will be the most evolved StreetXO in the world. I think it is going to work and will be great: A wild and brutal experience that is only about haute cuisine. I think these wild, dynamic, and brutal concepts fit perfectly in such a modern, cosmopolitan, and wild city as New York. StreetXO is speaking a universal language; it is all about getting radical, not only about the experience itself but also about the food."
Once Muñoz's London location opens this summer, the chef will travel to the U.K. two days a week, closing DiverXO on Sunday and Monday every week. "When we open in New York, we will probably close DiverXO one more day [per week], and will manage my time to travel either to London or New York from Sunday to Tuesday every week." And Muñoz is just getting started. "This is like a dream come true," Muñoz says. "When we opened the first StreetXO two-and-a-half years ago, I would've never imagined I would be able to do this. I have always had very big dreams. I knew the more ambitious my dreams were, the bigger sacrifices I had to accept... All my dreams are coming true now. We are making huge efforts to get everything going, but it's worth it. I am happier than ever." Muñoz used to say "Vanguardia o Morir" (to innovate or to die). The answer is clear: Vanguardia indeed.