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Father and son duo keep Mexican culinary traditions thriving at two Queens restaurants

Photo courtesy of La cevicheria

June 12, 2024 By BORO Magazine

In the heart of Queens, two mom-and-pop restaurants, de Mole and La cevicheria by de Mole, are not only champions of authentic Mexican cuisine, but also embodiments of familial legacy, particularly poignant as Father’s Day approaches. 

Opened 17 years ago by Ramiro and Mireya Mendez at 45-02 48th Ave. in Sunnyside and later joined by their son Luis with La cevicheria by de Mole in Astoria in September 2020, these establishments are community beacons, sustaining Mexico’s rich culinary traditions.

Ramiro Mendez of de Mole. Photo courtesy of de Mole

De Mole, aptly named after a traditional Mexican sauce, was born out of Ramiro and Mireya’s desire to give New York a genuine taste of Mexico. Their dedication has been a guiding light for their son, Luis, who ventured to open La cevicheria by de Mole at 42-20 30th Ave. in Astoria during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. His decision to diversify the menu with a seafood focus was driven by a desire to introduce New Yorkers to the broad spectrum of traditional Mexican cooking, featuring a variety of fish, shellfish and ceviche—a dish showcasing fish marinated in citrus and spices.

The relationship between father and son in these culinary ventures reflects a deep bond and a shared commitment to cultural preservation. “Opening a new restaurant wasn’t just about business; it was about crafting a legacy, intertwining our family’s story with the flavors of our heritage,” Luis reflects. This Father’s Day, their story is especially resonant, highlighting not only their individual contributions, but also their collective effort to maintain the authenticity of Mexican cuisine.

While their menus differ, both locations celebrate mole—a rich sauce embodying the complexity of Mexican cooking with ingredients like fruits, nuts, chili peppers and spices. Specialties, such as slow-cooked chicken legs with mole sauce and chicken enchiladas with mole poblano, from the Puebla region of Mexico are staples at both sites.

Despite the initial challenges of rising produce costs and the global pandemic, La cevicheria has carved out its niche in the Astoria community, increasingly beloved by locals. “The community’s reception has been warm and encouraging. It’s a testament to the unique flavors we bring to the table, distinct from other Mexican offerings in the area,” Luis said, optimistic about the growing customer base as summer approaches.

As culinary traditions evolve, even within Mexico, Luis and his father, Ramiro, stand firm in their mission to preserve the authentic practices that are slowly fading. “Our restaurant is more than a business; it’s a heritage site of sorts, a place where New Yorkers can experience true Mexican culture through our food,” Luis concludes, hopeful for the future.

As Father’s Day nears, the story of de Mole and La cevicheria by de Mole reminds us of the powerful influence fathers can have, not just within their families but also within their communities, preserving and passing on the invaluable heritage of authentic cuisine and culture.

deMole | 45-02 48th Ave. Sunnyside 

La cevicheria | 42-20 30th Ave.Astoria


*This story first published in the June issue of BORO Magazine.

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