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A sip and taste of Spain comes to 13th St. as dynamic duo grows Midtown Village vision

Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran have just expanded their empire on 13th St. in Midtown Village with the opening of Jamonera, a Spanish tapas bar, this past Sunday. Jamonera, located between Chestnut and Sansom Sts., will serve small and medium-sized plates, wines, and sherries, inspired by the duo's recent travel to Southern Spain. The restaurant will be open for dinner and post-dinner patrons.  

The opening of Jamonera at 105 S. 13th St. solidifies Turney and Safran's imprint on the entire block. They began with a home and gift store called Open House at 107 S. 13th back in 2002. Since then, their passion for the street and Midtown Village has gushed forward with the opening of five other stores and restaurants. At 101, there's Grocery market and catering, while 106 houses Lolita, a Mexican dining option. 108 is home to Verde, a jewelry and gift shop, while 110 finds Barbuzzo, a Mediterranean bar.

Jamonera offers a wealth of culinary options, with all the flair you'd expect from Spain. "Guests can expect to enjoy banderillas of olives, boquerones and guindilla peppers, and crispy calasparra rice with heirloom pumpkin," says Valerie Safran. Other menu items include lamb skewers and cucina. Safran says the tapas plates run from $4 to $36, and are all meant to be shared. 

While the food options are sure to elicit salivation, the drink options are equally impressive. "We've selected a group of wines that we believe are the best expression of Spain's terroir, with earthy reds and bright, crisp whites ideally suited to sipping alongside the varied flavors of the food," describes Safran. Along with the wines, Jamonera serves an enviable selection of sherries.

Both Safran and Turney bemoan the former lack of a genuine tapas restaurant in Midtown Village. They highlight the rich flavors and relaxed atmosphere that accompany tapas restaurants. To best mimic the vibe of a Spanish tapas bar, the entrepreneurs teamed up with Urban Space Development. Together, they decided to festoon the tapas bar with Rioja-colored wood and reddish lighting. They also installed old-fashioned mirrors and intricate wood chandeliers.

The owners are proud of all the work they've done for their block of 13th St. "We love that we've helped transform 13th Street into a destination for the city," says Safran. She points out that the neighborhood was deemed far from appealing by many when she and her business partner opened their first business, but has come a long way. The entrepreneurs' love of their street is palpable on-line as well, where they run a website called "We love 13th Street," which helps link their panoply of stores and restaurants.

Writer: Andy Sharpe
Sources: Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney, Jamonera
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