New York Public Library awards restaurant entrepreneurs $15,000 for southwest eatery

A pair of restaurant entrepreneurs plans to bring some southwestern flavor to the city with the help of the New York Public Library.

Lennard Camarillo of Manhattan and Arlene Lozano of Queens have won the library’s annual business plan competition, scoring a top prize of $15,000. They beat out hundreds of other applicants.

They plan to open a Lower East Side restaurant, called Cholo Noir, where they’ll serve up “a fusion of Mexican street food and Southwest BBQ.”

The two said their goal is to create an experience for patrons. “We’re also trying to do something socially and culturally,” Lozano said.

Decor at the restaurant will showcase Mexican American culture from the southwest evoked by lowriders, zootsuits and pachucos. “It’s going to be reminiscent of cruising L.A.,” said Camarillo who, like Lozano, is originally from California.

The two said that the award money will go toward legal costs and researching and developing recipes for the restaurant, which they hope will be the first in a Northeast chain.

The library and Citi Foundation, a sponsor of the competition, announced the winners of the New York StartUP! 2014 Business Plan Competition on Monday.

Eleanor Luken and Mark Blackman scored a second-place award of $7,500 to create the Harlem Independent Theater; Autumn Adeigbo received a third-place award of $5,000 for her African clothing line.