27 Essential Latino-Owned Businesses in NYC
Spots that continue to add color and sazón to neighborhoods all across the five boroughs.
Latino-owned restaurants, shops, and businesses add color, sazón, and life to neighborhoods all across the country—but perhaps one of the best places to experience its vibrant culture is right here in NYC.
Since nearly 2.5 million Latinos live here, hailing from places such as Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and more, it’s no surprise that local entrepreneurship among these communities continues to be strong and growing, with thousands of notable Latino-owned businesses serving as vital neighborhood fixtures across the five boroughs. Many of these business owners also use their restaurants, shops, and services as an important opportunity to ensure the Hispanic community is seen and valued—and activism and community are also the backbone behind many of these Latino-(and immigrant)-owned operations, providing safe spaces that are welcoming to all.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month starting on September 15, we’ve curated our top recommendations of NYC spots to help kickstart your celebrations. And while there are countless other Latino-owned businesses in the city to support now and always, here are 27 of our favorites.
This Mexican folk art marketplace has been a fixture on East 3rd Street in the East Village for 22 years. However, currently until November, the brick and mortar will only be open on weekends while the team runs a pop-up at Chelsea Market over the next few months. Open until Día de Los Muertos (Nov 1) this year, shop at La Sirena’s (which is Spanish for mermaid) newest locale for vibrant and gorgeous museum-quality goods while knowing it not only helps a legendary NYC small business, but also Mexican folk art and artisans from various regions of Mexico. Owner Dina Leor, who is Argentine American, features exclusive handmade items including traditional pottery, clothing, textiles, and more.
How to support: Visit the pop-up at Chelsea Market, shop online, or donate directly to La Sirena’s GoFundMe to help the small business along with Mexican artisans and makers.
Located in Queens, Frescos Cantina is a gay, Latinx-owned modern Mexican restaurant operated by married couple Brian Martinez and Adrian Suero. Here, the duo aim to create a restaurant where people feel like they’re walking into a friend's house, and in addition to the popular food and drinks, the restaurant prides itself on an inclusive atmosphere. The pollo robado (chicken tacos) and pastelón (a plantain lasagna) are two of the most in-demand offerings, and take note, Thursdays and Sundays sell out quickly as Frescos drag shows have become a staple in the local community (so reservations on these days are a must).
How to support: Make a reservation by calling 347-808-7338 or emailing email@example.com, or order via Caviar.
Nubia Rezo, the owner of Rëzo Salon on the Upper East, is so well-known as an authority on curly hair, that customers at her Madison Avenue salon can typically find themselves sitting next to fellow clients from all around the world. Born and raised in Colombia, Rezo moved to the U.S. in 1975. After being formally trained by a slew of well-respected hair educators like Goldwell, L’Oréal, Wella, Vidal Sassoon, DevaCurl, Ouidad, Aveda, Paul Sebastian, and Mazella & Palmer, she saw the demand for further education surrounding textured hair. Her salon was established in 2020 and also includes haircare products targeted towards the Latinx and curly haired community.
How to support: Call 917-409-0292 or book via website.
Anima Mundi’s founder, Adriana Ayales, is an herbalist originally from Costa Rica who studied alongside master herbalists for over 13 years. Her goal is to introduce traditional medicine to the modern world while honoring indigenous practices and botany from Central and South America. The shop offers a selection of products containing over 200 herbs from all over the world, including chaga, mucuna, and ashwagandha, to name a few. In addition to DIY herbal classes, meditation and breathwork sessions, cacao ceremonies, and herbal consultations, there’s also a tonic bar with beverages like oat milk lattes, mushroom espresso, ceremonial matcha with collagen, and nootropic milks.
How to support: Visit storefront, order via website, Instagram, Facebook
Antojitos Doña Fela
This Peruvian food cart located under the 90th Street subway stop of the 7 Train plates up vibrant ceviches, chaufa (chifa-style Chinese fried rice), arroz con pollo, and cravable breakfast options like chicharron con camote. Run by three generations of women from founder, Felicitas Vargas, and her family, it’s worthy of a visit for any meal throughout the day.
How to support: Visit at 90th Street & Roosevelt Ave, call 718-478-3130 for free deliveries ($20 minimum) to Astoria, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona, and East Elmhurst.
After escaping the violence from her hometown of Medellin, Colombia, lawyer Maria Piedad Cano (aka “The Arepa Lady”) started selling arepas out of a push cart on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens decades ago. After more than 25 years of hard work and growing popularity, Cano, together with her sons, opened her first brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2014 in addition to a locale at DeKalb Market Hall in Downtown Brooklyn. Their signature, fluffy arepas come in varieties such as arepas de queso (melted mozzarella); arepa de choclo (corn); and the arepa rellena (filled with chicharrón and chorizo).
Cafe Con Libros
Owned by Kalima DeSuze, an Afro-Panamanian and Latinx feminist, social worker, activist, teacher, veteran, and mother, Café con Libros is a bookstore that combines her love of literature, community, and intersectional feminism—alongside coffee and pastries. E-books and audio books are also available.
How to support: Visit storefront, order books via website, or subscribe to monthly Feminist & Bookish subscription.
This family-owned, homestyle Latin diner in the Bronx serves dishes inspired by Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban traditions. Caridad has been open for more than 20 years and is known for their delicious rotisserie chicken and generous family specials. Owner Henry Martes is a first-generation immigrant from the Dominican Republic who was raised in the Bronx. And while he also holds a master's degree in urban design from Columbia University, he inherited Caridad from his mother and has maintained its operation to keep her dream alive.
This neighborhood Puerto Rican eatery in Alphabet City has been open since 1976 and is famous across all five boroughs for their signature homestyle cooking. Its beloved founder and matriarch, Adela Fargas, passed away in 2018 at 81 years old, and since then, her family has continued to run Casa Adela in her legacy. Popular items include the mofongo (fried crushed plantains made with garlic and pork crackling); tostones; and chicharron de pollo (chicken crackling served with rice and beans).
This neighborhood spot in Williamsburg serves up refined Venezuelan cuisine with a modern twist. Owner Ivo Diaz is Venezuelan born with over 15 years experience in the NYC hospitality industry and has curated cocktail programs at places such as Eleven Madison Park and The Nomad Hotel. Casa Ora’s menu is inspired by Diaz’s mother, who is also the restaurant’s executive chef while Diaz heads up the bar program. For Hispanic Heritage Month, the restaurant will offer a special Abuelita’s Tasting Menu at $65 per person until October 15 with six courses like heirloom tomato salad and beef brisket, and an additional option for a cocktail pairing.
Coco and Breezy
Coco and Breezy Eyewear is a sunglasses and frames brand founded in 2009 by Afro-Puerto Rican sisters (and identical twins), Corianna and Brianna Dotson when they were just 19 years old. The company is known for their modern designs, sharp lines, and effortlessly cool style.
How to support: Order online or visit the NYC showroom at 134 West 29th Street.
Costas Arepa Bar
Owner Ronny Abenhaim is originally from Colombia and moved to the US as a child. After a career in restaurant management and working alongside chefs like Eric Ripert and Jonathan Waxman, Abenheim opened Costas Arepas Bar with a mission to bridge global cultures through arepas. This popular Midtown destination is known for mashups like the Australian-inspired “Down Under” arepa with avocado and peri peri sauce; the “Yankee” with ribs and coleslaw; and Asian influenced “Mr. Chang” with crispy chicken and Korean barbecue sauce.
Elisa’s Love Bites
Elisa’s Love Bites is a fully gluten-free (and “guilt-free”) bakery by Panamanian-born pastry chef, Elisa Lyew. The artisanal goods here are baked with low-glycemic sweeteners like coconut palm sugar, agave nectar, and house-made apple purée. Think healthy twists on the original Fig Newton, almond butter cookies, flourless brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.
As one of NYC’s most beloved coffee shops, Devoción brings some of the freshest coffee in the world to a corner near you. Their “origin to cup in 10 days” coffee is all single origin from Colombia, sourced from the finest growing regions in the country. Colombian-born owner Steven Sutton has expanded the shop’s original (and stunning) cafe-roastery in Williamsburg to additional locations in Flatiron and Downtown Brooklyn.
Evelia Coyotzi, originally from Tlaxcala, Mexico, first started selling tamales, a traditional Mexican breakfast dish made from corn flour steamed in a corn husk, in a shopping cart in Queens. After growing in popularity, she was able to upgrade to a professional food cart and extend her menu to Oaxacan tamales, atoles, sandwiches, and tortas. Since 2002, Evelia’s Tamales has been parked at the corner of Junction Blvd and Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, where it offers a wide variety of menu items just outside the 7 Train stop of Junction Boulevard at 96-07 Roosevelt Ave.
Founded in 2013, Homecoming is a hybrid space with the intention of bringing all of owner Vanessa Chinga’s (a born-and-raised Harlem native of Ecuadorian descent) favorite things together under one roof: coffee and espresso (from Heart Roasters), and flowers, plants, and home goods for sale from independent makers.
Yajaira Saavedra is the undocumented co-owner of family-run La Morada, an award-winning Mexican restaurant in the South Bronx known for their Oaxacan cuisine. As a Thrillist Heroes 2020 honoree, the eatery is just as well known for their beautiful, indigenously honored moles and pambazos as they are for being community advocates and a pro-immigration activist space. The restaurant’s front door reads “Refugees Welcome.”
Love, Nelly is named in honor of co-owner and baker Stephanie Gallardo’s mother. At this East Bushwick bakery, Gallardo’s carb-based creations are rooted in nostalgia from fond childhood memories of visiting her family in Colombia and South America. The colorful menu includes cakes, raspas (snow cones), cookies, coffee, and Colombian empanadas.
Mil Mundos Books, founded in 2018 by Maria Herron, is currently the only bookstore in Bushwick east of Myrtle Ave. Nearly 50% of its titles are available in Spanish—the dominant language spoken in Bushwick. According to Herron, she initially founded the shop so “two people can talk excitedly in any language without being told to keep the volume down.” And as a place where Black, Latino, and Indigenous heritages can be celebrated and explored, this safe space acts as a “Bushwick activist Spanglish bookstore” for all to enjoy.
The Lit Bar
The Lit Bar is a bookstore and wine bar opened by Bronx native, Noëlle Santos. When the 2016 closure of the Bronx’s Barnes & Noble left the borough without any bookstores, Santos saw an opportunity and need to create a sustainable and more accessible bookshop for the neighborhood. The former human resources director at an IT firm then traded in her six-figure salary to open The Lit Bar in 2019, and it’s been a community space for bibliophiles and wine connoisseurs alike ever since.
Founded in 1986 by Cristina Abreu, who originally hails from the Dominican Republic, this Dominican bistro has long been a neighborhood favorite in Prospect Heights. At Puerto Viejo, go for pernil, bacalao guisado, the chimi burger, or homemade teas made with fresh ginger, lemongrass, apples, cinnamon, and mint.
This popular Dominican and woman-owned bakery on the Lower East Side specializes in Dominican-style cakes, incredibly layered with precise designs. Run by owner Rossy Caba, the bakery also offers coffee and savory items like empanadas, pollo guisado, and sandwiches.
Seis Vecinos Restaurant
With a focus on authentic cuisine from Central America and Mexico, Seis Vecinos’ name translates to "six neighbors" in Spanish, referring to the neighboring countries of Central America (El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala) in relation to Mexico. Owner Jennifer Canales is of Honduran and Mexican descent, and opened the restaurant in her South Bronx community to highlight the neighborhood’s creative blending of diverse ingredients and traditions. Popular dishes include the baleada, cheese stuffed pupusas, cuajada, and oxtail.
Mexican-born Ignacio Garcia runs one of the most popular taquerías on Staten Island serving unconventional taco combinations like duck mole tacos on crispy chili-chocolate tortillas or fried lobster tacos with chipotle crema. At Sofia’s Taqueria, customers can also sip on fruity cocktails like coconut mojitos and a variety of margaritas (with a stellar guava option), in addition to pursuing their “tequila library” with its extensive selection of spirits ranging from blancos, añejos, reposados, and mezcals.
This modern-day cantina inspired by Mexican street food and craft cocktails is from the same team behind Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue and located just blocks away. At Tiny’s Cantina, the menu is by partner/executive chef Cenobio Canalizo and features flavors rooted in his hometown of Puebla, Mexico. Expect signature items like Oaxacan tlayuda, birria tacos, BLT Camarones, pork belly guacamole, and quesadillas de hongos. The cocktail menu includes the Golden Eagle (mezcal, apricot, ginger, pineapple, mole bitters) and a Guanajuato Old Fashioned (corn whiskey, liquor de elote, bitters, lemon twist), in addition to over 75 tequilas and mezcals. And expect brunch to launch this upcoming weekend with dishes like chilaquiles verdes and a breakfast tostada.