Jasmin Diaz-Leal is no stranger to the local food industry.
Her parents, George and Justina Rojas, own Mexico Lindo, a grocery store featuring Hispanic products in Riverhead, and the Mexican restaurant El Rodeo in East Moriches.
So it comes as no surprise that when Julia’s Pizzeria on East Main Street closed its doors recently, Ms. Diaz-Leal and her husband, Edgar, jumped at the chance to lease the space and open their own authentic Mexican restaurant, Taqueria Cielito Lindo. The eatery opened two weeks ago.
“I had been working with my mom for three years now and going to school at the same time,” said Ms. Diaz-Leal, who graduated from Southampton High School in 2005 and earned a degree in criminal justice last year from Suffolk County Community College. “The opportunity came to open my own restaurant, I got the blessing from my parents and now I have it.”
Ms. Diaz-Leal, who lives in Riverhead and has a 7-year-old son, Edgar Jr., and a 6-month old daughter, Khloe, with Mr. Diaz-Leal, a San Diego native who grew up in Toluca, Mexico, does most of the cooking at their 15-seat eatery, whose name roughly translates to “Beautiful sky taco restaurant.”
The menu features dishes influenced by cuisine that is popular in Toluca, which is an hour from Mexico City, and Puebla, in the center of Mexico.
There are quesadillas, tacos and burritos, yes. But there are more unusual offerings, too, like sopa Aztec, a soup made with fried tortillas, avocado chunks, pork rinds, cheese and sour cream.
There are also tortas, sandwiches made on Portuguese bread with fillings like breaded steak, ham and cheese and chicken tamal.
Ms. Diaz-Leal said the first two weeks Taqueria Cielito Lindo has been open have “been great.”
Her hope, she said, is that “we do great in this restaurant and hopefully can open up more.”
Taqueria Cielito Lindo is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Parking is available at the rear of the building on the Peconic Riverfront. For more information, call 631-591-0731.