Murals splashed across the walls of a new restaurant might become as big a draw as the food.
Condado Tacos, opening next month at The Greene Towne Center, hires local “street-artists” to create unique looks for each of the restaurants in its chain.
A dozen area artists were tasked with creating artwork that interprets — in their own styles — Dayton’s inventive spirit.
A mix of artists including muralists, tattoo artists and fine artists are selected for each restaurant, according to Lindsay Pilko, the director of art for the Columbus-based chain. “Their experiences and individual styles are what makes the artwork truly unique.”
Hiring local artists helps build a community before the restaurant opens, Pilko said.
“These artists know their cities, they have backstories and can point out something I may have missed in our preliminary work,” she said. “Any time we can lift up our local artists is a good thing. For me, art is a visual escape into another perspective and when it's done well, it can stop you in your tracks.”
One of the murals in the new restaurant is an eclectic mix of characters and symbols that will test viewer’s knowledge of famous Daytonians.
Artist Tiffany Clark has created a version of the Victoria Theatre and filled it with local celebrities. “I crammed as many famous Dayton peeps in there as possible,” she said.
Among them is comedian Dave Chappelle holding a microphone, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar dreaming of a book about tacos and Katharine Wright, the sister of the famous aviator brothers, peering through binoculars.
John Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, look over a crowd that includes musicians Roger Troutman, Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, Robert Pollard and The Breeders.
Matilda Stanley, Dayton’s legendary Gypsy queen, actor Rob Lowe and Oscar winners Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar are among numerous others pictured.
Clark also “snuck in” a portrait of her father, Jim Welty, a retired science teacher at Fairborn City Schools. Clark said her Dad is known for his world-renowned collector of military vehicles, as a race car driver and for jumping a military tank over parked cars for the 1980s television show “Real People.”
Clark said the artists worked as a team to create the space.
“Even though we are all creating something for one environment, everyone’s artwork is unique and stands out to where we could be ourselves.”
The Wright brothers and soap box derby cars are among the mix of images found within the murals as well as Condado Tacos characters.
Amy Kollar Anderson, a Dayton artist who describes her style as “realistic with a surreal twist,” also created artwork for the restaurant.
Her mural, nearly 30-feet long, was painted along the “zig-zag” hallway leading from the dining area to the bathroom.
It features a Frankenstein-like character, a giant killer tomato with tentacles reaching out in all directions, floating ghost peppers and gnomes hurling mushrooms.
“From the moment you walk in your eyes will be bombarded with this super fun energized space,” Kollar Anderson said. “All the surfaces are covered with fun images.”
Other artists who worked on the restaurant include Adam Eckley, Nicole Gangwer, Bryan Brady, Maggie Reckers, Alexandra Wood, Christopher Weyrich, Alexander Linton, Alyssa Martin, Josh Redmond and Adam Hernandez and Rachel Kaufman of Columbus.
The Columbus-based restaurant chain, which opened its first restaurant in 2014, has 16 locations in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Detroit.