Mamajuana Cafe

NYC restaurant shakes up downtown with Dominican classics and speakeasy-style bar

New York City-based Dominican restaurant has opened its first Houston location. Mamajuana Cafe is now open in downtown’s Rice Hotel (909 Texas St.).

First opened in 2006, Mamajuana quickly earned a reputation for well-executed takes on Dominican staples such as mofongo (fried plantains), churrasco (marinated skirt steak), puerquito (marinated, roasted pork shoulder), and its namesake cocktail that’s a blend of rum, honey, and herbs.

The Houston location also includes Asian and Caribbean-inspired dishes such as ceviche, sushi, fried snapper, and oxtail fettuccine. For example, the Houston roll consists of chorizo, fried cheese, and avocado that’s topped with jalapeño and spicy mayo.

Cassava comes seasoned with garlic and herbs before being stuffed with a diner’s choice of chicken and cheese, churrasco and cheese, or shrimp and lobster. Desserts include coconut tres leches, corn flan, and a take on tiramisu.

Mamajuana also has a speakeasy-style bar that’s hidden behind a a large painting of El Campesino, which depicts farmers at work in the Dominican Republic. Once inside, diners will find a selection of cocktails including a mojito, margarita, and gin and tonic.

Currently, Mamajuana has nine locations across New York and New Jersey as well as two in Florida, the Houston Chroniclereports. Could Houston eventually also have multiple locations? So far, locals seem to be embracing the new restaurant.

“The grand opening of Mamajuana in Houston was a tremendous success,” co-owner Jeremy Zorilla tells CultureMap. “We were overwhelmed by the support and feedback from the community saying this concept is what Houston was missing. We aim to maintain a vibrant atmosphere, serving delicious Caribbean flavors, to create memorable experiences for our guests. We are excited to continue sharing our passion for exceptional cuisine and heartfelt hospitality in this new market.”

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