Things That Matter

20 Delicious Hidden NY Latino Food Gems You Need to Try

New York City is known for its vibrant culture — after all, it’s the city that never sleeps. The night life, Broadway shows, museums, but the best part about visiting New York? The food! Specifically, the Latin food gems.

Not only are these restaurants serving up delicious plates of the most incredible Latino dishes, but they’re also bettering their neighborhoods and giving back. Which is something the world totally needs right now.

Here are 7 mouth-watering NY spots totally serving up pure goodness.

1. Hecho En Dumbo

Latin food gems

CREDIT: Yelp / Allison Y

What started out as a pop-up Mexican joint in Dumbo, Brooklyn has now flourished into a full restaurant, thanks to Chef Danny Mena. This place will satisfy all of your small-plate cravings, from Gorditas de Chicharron Prensado to Salbutes de Pollo, there is something for everyone.

2. Because they feature delicious foods.

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Along with several other New York restaurants, Hecho En Dumbo donated food that went to about 500 soup kitchens and community food programs in the five NYC boroughs.

3.The best part about this eclectic Mexican restaurant?

CREDIT: mitu / Youtube.com

City Harvest helps to feed the almost 1.4 million New York residents that face starvation every single year. 

4. The fact that it was part of City Harvest’s food rescue donation.

CREDIT: mitu / Youtube.com

It’s pretty amazing to see a business journey  from a mere pop up dream of Mexican cuisine to helping feed people in need.

5. Oaxaca Taqueria

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CREDIT: Oaxaca Taqueria / Instagram

Talk about a restaurant that encourages community with its patrons – Oaxaca Taqueria has several locations in New York that are absolutely dedicated to spreading the goodness, by bringing New Yorkers authentic food with the flavors and culture of Oaxaca.

6. What’s unique about this restaurant is that they are dedicated to cultivating a community.

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Which is why they have an entire merchandise section on their website. Yup, you can totally rock a Oaxaca Taqueria T-shirt that reps a place which prides itself in being locally sourced.

7. So not only will you look fashionable…

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but you can feel good about eating food that is positive for our environment and earth.

8. FONDA

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CREDIT: FONDA / Instagram

Ask anyone about FONDA in New York and they’re sure to all say the same thing: GO!

9. Roberto Santibañez is the genius behind FONDA (located in Park Slope, East Village, and Chelsea)…

CREDIT: theyumdiaries / Instagram

And his dishes such as Taquitos San Andres, or the sublime Tostadas de Carne are worth visiting. The team at FONDA also does something incredible: they founded the Mexican Heirloom Corn Initiative, aka “Farm to Fonda.”

10. All of FONDA’s tortillas are made with 100% heirloom corn from family farms in Mexico, GMO-free, all natural, all organic.

CREDIT: feedyourbae / Instagram

The initiative is all about bring good to the hood, by supporting independent Mexican farmers, and also providing FONDA’s patrons with healthy, sustainable, delicious food.

11. Chavela’s

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CREDIT: Chavela’s / Instagram

Chavela’s is a staple to Brooklyn cuisine, and its founder is the definition of the American Dream. Arturo Leonar has an inspirational journey; he was born and raised in Mexico City and moved to New York when he was just a young man. 

12. He worked his way up and worked hard.

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In 2007, he and his wife, Desiree, opened up a tiny little restaurant and worked every single aspect of it. Just them hustling hard, no team, 

12. In 2011 he upgraded to a bigger space and Chavela’s began to take off.

CREDIT: cescaxo / Instagram

It’s a place that brings family and friends together, and for a moment you completely forget you’re in Brooklyn at all. That’s the beauty of Chavela’s – with its bright colors, exquisite menu, and excellent service, Leonar has created a place that feels like home to so many. Which is why Chavela’s totally brings the good to the Brooklyn hood – its positivity radiates out of its doors.

13. La Esquina NYC

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CREDIT: La Esquina / Instagram

It’s hard not to fall in love with La Esquina, the New York joint that takes Mexican Street food to a whole other level.

14. It’s a mysterious place, one with a secret underground restaurant…

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And a menu of vibrant tacos that makes anyone’s mouth water (bistec, tinga de pollo, and carnitas tacos, anyone?)

15. A cool aspect about La Esquina is that it offers live Latin music to it’s patrons, a huge proponent of bringing Mexican culture to NYC.

CREDIT: eatingaroundnyc / Instagram

Not only that, but they have an “art” section on their website…any restaurant that supports the arts is a place worth dining and giving your money to. They keep Mexican culture and history alive by submerging customers in a rich, authentic experience — which is an excellent way to educate the community.

16. El Atoradero Brooklyn

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Credit: El Atoradero Brooklyn / Instagram

A Latino restaurant owned and operated by a woman is so much inspo! Denisse Lina Chavez’s journey to becoming a restaurant owner is truly an inspiration, and she’s the mastermind behind this awesome place that started out as a street bodega. Chavez’s specialty is her blue-corn tortillas, shipping in a custom masa machine from Jalisco to nixtamilize them.

17. The menu is out of this world – boasting dishes like chorizo tacos and burritos, to enchiladas de mole poblano con queso.

CREDIT: infatuation_nyc / Instagram

The most impressive thing about this place? Chavez herself. She went from her street bodega, to El Atoradero, which went out of business. But she didn’t give up – she kept working, and then opened the flourishing El Atoradero Brooklyn. Every time you eat at this place, you’ll be reminded that hard work DOES pay off, to keep going, work hard, and to pursue what fulfills you.

18. The Black Ant NYC

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CREDIT: The Black Ant / Instagram

Who knew food that involved insects could be so delicious? That’s right – The Black Ant NYC, uses ants, chapulines, and numerous other insect ingredients to serve up tasty dishes.

19. There’s the enchilada de conejo, a braised rabbit and queso fresco specialty, as well as the croquetas de chapulin, whose main ingredient is grasshoppers.

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The masterminds behind it all? Jorge Guzman, who grew up in the Dominican Republic, and chef Mario Hernandez.

20. Their mission is to bring the history of Mexico and Quetzalcoatl to the modern Mexican cuisine of New York City.

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Again, another place bringing history and education to residents – which only helps better the community in which it thrives.


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The NYC Blackout Forced J.Lo To Cancel Her Concert But She Came Back Better Than Ever

Entertainment

The NYC Blackout Forced J.Lo To Cancel Her Concert But She Came Back Better Than Ever

jlo / Instagram

Jennifer Lopez’s “It’s My Party” Tour was set to reach its pinnacle as the Puerto Rican icon returned to her home barrio, New York City, on Saturday, July 13. Instead, the sold out Madison Square Garden show was evacuated after a city-wide blackout turned Madison Square Garden (MSG) dark. 

While StubHub reportedly refunded $500k to customers affected by the blackout, along with other suffering businesses, J.Lo was quick to action because her party ain’t over till she says it is.

When the lights went off, fans turned on their phone lights to light up the arena.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

In video footage posted by J.Lo on her social media accounts, you can see the 49-year-old knockout performing for her loudest, most loyal fans when everything went black. Fans started to scream, and although J.Lo’s microphone cut out, she starts to tell the crowd, “Don’t panic. Everybody, stay calm.”

The singer quickly took to social media to blast her thoughts out to her fans.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

Since nobody could hear her, she brilliantly sent a message through to everyone with a selfie video. “Hi guys, we’re backstage. They just told me to get off stage… They’re asking everyone to evacuate very slowly and calmly and that’s what we’re going to have to do,” she tells the camera. She tweeted out to her fans, “Heartbroken to say tonight’s show is cancelled. We will reschedule. Love you all!!! Stay safe! ❤️ #ItsMyPartyTour”

Some thought her fire caused the NYC blackout.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

In a video she posted to Twitter, we hear someone telling Jennifer, “New York just wasn’t ready for you.” J.Lo agreed.

J.Lo posted several more videos that night expressing to her fans how “heartbroken” she was to have to cancel the show.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

“Devastated and heartbroken that I can’t perform for all of you tonight. We will make this up to you, I promise!” she tweeted alongside the video. And that she did. :’ )

Later, she shared a video of her finding out the show could be rescheduled for the upcoming Monday.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

“UGHHHH, this sucks. This SUCKS, she frustratingly shouted into a phone.” We see her with fiancé Alex Rodriguez and her team in a business meeting where the person on the other end of the phone confirmed that MSG could reschedule her concert for Monday.

J.Lo made sure to bring the whole Madison Square Garden to its feet during rescheduled concert.

The blackout might have stopped her concert in its tracks but that would never hold J.Lo down. She promised to deliver a performance for her fans and she did just that.

The singer is celebrating her 50th birthday like only she can and fans approve.

Way to go, J.Lo. That’s how you deliver a show to your fans.

Of course, A-Rod was there with all of the support.

Credit: @AROD / Twitter

Alex Rodriguez is the attentive and supportive partner everyone deserves. He seems to always be there for her performances and his unyielding support of her is something we can all cry over.

Even though she’s going to perform in a different city the very next day, she’s making The Garden show round two happen the night before.

Credit: @MySimple_Life / Twitter
“I just want to let you guys know that you’re going to get your money’s worth, that we are going to come back and do an amazing show for you. I am so sorry that this happened. Obviously, it was all beyond our control,” she told fans just hours before following through on her promise. 

This morning, she tweeted “The party’s not over til I say it is…. See you tonight, NYC!!!!!!!!”

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You can’t stop a Puerto Rican fire. ; ) J.Lo’s swift action and obvious disappointment for her fans has just reinvigorated her fanbase.

Meanwhile, around the city, Latinos were taking in the city sin luz.

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As the sun set on the city, it’s usually bright cityscape was absolutely pitch dark. Citizens started directing traffic, including directing police cars in the right direction. A Symphony Hall orchestra moved their performance to the middle of a busy New York street, making it open to the public.

Bodegas kept doing their thing.

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The metaphorical and literal cornerstone of NYC and Latino culture remained the hub for socializing and snacking.

Broadway just took their performances to the street.

Credit: @Hadestown / Twitter

Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted an incredible video of André and company freestyling about the blackout, during the blackout, to keep the Hadestown performance alive.

Kulture still had a “lit” 1st birthday party during the blackout.

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In an Instagram live video posted Sunday, Cardi B told her fans that her baby’s first birthday party “was so lit that I lost my motherf–king nail. Let me tell ya’ll something, ya’ll made it lit was the fact that I had got there, the lights went off in the party, it was like a whole hour with no lights, no music. But it was…lit!”

Here’s what we learned. A blackout may turn off the power in the City of Lights, but it can’t stop culture from doing its thing.

READ: A Valedictorian Wasn’t Allowed To Give A Speech Because He’s Gay, So J.Lo Came To His Hometown To Bring His Noise

The Black Majesty At The Afro-Latino Fest NYC This Weekend Is What Dreams Are Made Of

Culture

The Black Majesty At The Afro-Latino Fest NYC This Weekend Is What Dreams Are Made Of

#afrolatinofestnyc / Instagram

With six years of celebrating Afro-Latinidad behind them, Afro-Latino Fest took to New York City for the seventh time running and it was better than ever. Latino Rebels and Futuro Media group partnered to create a social entrepreneur workshop, creating more much-needed access, and Afrolatin Talks launched their Podcast series to a live audience.

With live music, indoor and outdoor stages, and coalescence of uninterrupted culture-affirming celebration all weekend long, you can bet the whole event was like a POC dream come true.

In the last U.S. Census, more than 25 percent of all those claiming Afro-Latino heritage report living in New York City.

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So it makes sense that Afro-Latino Fest would go down in Brooklyn, where the bulk of the community already lives. In the last census, only 2.5 percent of all Latinos also identified as Black, which makes Brooklyn an especially special place.

Latin flags were held and celebrated showing the diversity of the Afro-Latino community.

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That’s just what you do at the Afro-Latino Fest. You don’t have to be afraid of someone coming up to you asking if you’re an American or be in fear to express cultural pride.

The music was next-level increíble.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

Internet community Black Owned Brooklyn couldn’t have described the event any better: “Celebrating all things Afrolatinidad — from music, dance and food to politics, philosophy and religion — the Afro-Latino Festival (@afrolatinofestivalnyc) returned to Brooklyn last weekend for its seventh edition. Run by husband-and-wife duo Amilcar Priestley and Mai-Elka Prado Gil (both from Brooklyn by way of Panama), the event started in 2013 as a small gathering at Flatbush’s Parkside Train Station Plaza to “affirm, celebrate and educate” around the contributions of people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean. It has since evolved into a two-day festival, most recently at City Point in downtown Brooklyn, featuring music from eight countries across three stages. 🇵🇦 🇩🇴 🇵🇷 🇭🇹 🇭🇳 🇨🇺 🇨🇴 🇧🇷 ⠀”

There were chingona level DJ’s setting the party mood.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

These identical twins, Coco and Breezy, were just one set in a lineup of incredible performance artists like Puerto Rican spoken-word poet, Felipe Luciano, Dominican singer, José Alberto “El Canario,” Haitian-American singer Tadia and all-women Mariachi group Flor de Toloache. 

Afro-Latinos of all ages were able let loose a little bit.

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Every child was made to feel like royalty, with Afro-Latino owned vendors like “A Princess Like Me” in attendance. This was a family event.

Of course, there were bubbles for los niños.

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Who doesn’t love a good bubble machine?! Unlike the parties many of us went to as kids, there were actual children’s events to look forward to after rubbing the red lipstick off your face from all the tía besitos. Plus, who doesn’t want to hang out with Elena of Avalor?

The festival was all about community.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

And representing your whole heritage with pride. With the festival in its seventh year running, some of the children knew each other from the year before and others made fast friends.

The festival empowered Afro-Latino vendors to empower young Afro-Latino niños to be themselves.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

Caption: “Thank you @afrolatinofestivalnyc for booking us and giving OUR kids a place to freely run, play, dance and color with PRIDE! Our Latina Princess met amazing little Latina princesses too 👑👑👑🥰 where we hosted the entire kids zone at @citypointbklyn !!! Empowering our girls one princess & party character at a time. With live singing, makeup, nails, tattoos, dancing and more we bring the party to you! Ensuring your child has the best party possible for the lowest cost in NYC it’s no wonder we only have top ratings! Ps ask us about our customized characters and package options.”

We hope they get even more business after the festival’s long over.

It also empowered Afro-Latina‘s all over the place.

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“I am so excited! #laborinqueña #Brooklyn,” wrote this festival goer. She even got to meet the artist that created the highly anticipated “La Borinqueña” superhero comic, which celebrates a Black Puerto Rican woman as the protagonist.

At the end of the day, the event was all about family.

Credit: @cjrbarnes / Instagram

The young man in this photo expressed his gratitude for the event with a post on Instagram that read, “As the son of a 🇯🇲 [Jamaican] Immigrant and a 🇨🇺[Cuban] American, I’m blessed to be able to identity with both my Caribbean and African roots. @AfroLatinoFestivalNYC exemplifies all of the richness that Africa has on our beautiful Latinx counterparts—culture personified!🌍”

READ: From Maxwell To Cardi B, These Afro-Latinos Are A Driving Force In The Music Industry Today

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