A year and a half after her Main Street business was ruined in a fire that also destroyed Athens Grill, Flanders resident Anel Barreto has opened her first restaurant across the street in downtown Riverhead.
Las Tacos Mexicanas, located at 40 B East Main Street, opened on last Friday with an authentic Mexican menu highlighting a variety of tacos.
Ms. Barreto said she has been looking for a new storefront to open her first restaurant since June 2013 when a grease fire that originated at Athens Grill spread to La Mexicana grocery store, which she had operated for four years. Ms. Barreto and her new business partner Maria Veliz of Riverhead said they found the perfect spot at the space formerly occupied by Blue Agave Mexican Grill.
“The fire took everything, but I wanted to stay in Riverhead,” Ms. Barreto said. “This is a very good place. Main Street is important to the town.”
Blue Agave Mexican Grill, which opened in 2012, vacated the storefront earlier this year.
In April, state tax officials shut down an East Main Street burrito joint for failing to pay thousands of dollars in state sales taxes. At the time, Blue Agave owner Ken Loo vowed to repaid the government and reopened the eatery for a short period.
Mr. Loo didn’t return calls seeking comment.
Ms. Barreto, who moved to the area more than a decade ago, said Las Tacos Mexicans’ menu features foods she learned to cook while she was growing up in Mexico.
“It is authentic Mexican,” she said.
Taco options include Mexican sausage, shredded beef, al pastor (pork with pineapple), salted steak and pork. In addition, the shop offers gorditas, quesadillas, chicken stew, and drinks such as Mexican sodas and agua de Jamaica, a tart hibiscus tea. In the future, Ms. Veliz said they plan to offer more food items including breakfast.
Photo credit: Carrie Miller