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Staten Island's Only Cuban Restaurant Opens in Castleton Corners

By Nicholas Rizzi | February 15, 2013 8:46am

CASTLETON CORNERS — A new restaurant on Jewett Avenue will bring Cuban food to Staten Island.

Lucy’s Cuban Restaurant opened last weekend and prides itself by being family owned and operated. Co-owner Lucy Cruz, 25, who lives in the Bronx, said all the recipes made by her cousin and head cook Leopoldo Ortega, 36, were passed down for generations.

“He makes his own seasoning from scratch. Nothing is copied from anybody,” she said. “These are recipes that his great-grandmother and grandmother before gave to him.”

The menu offers a mix of dishes, from empanadas, to sweet plantains, to a Cubano Sandwich and even an ox-tail stew cooked in red sauce.

And for those who might be unsure of the Cuban food, Cruz said she offers customers free samples, and hasn’t been turned down on an order yet.

“Once you taste it, I assure you, you buy it,” she said. “I give them a sample and they say, ‘Oh can I get an order.’”

Cruz said it’s hard to pick a most popular dish so far, because customers have been ordering almost everything on the menu.

Residents also can’t get enough of the place’s special sauce, made with jalapeno and has a kick to it, Cruz added.

“Everybody’s asks us for Lucy’s green sauce,” Cruz said.

The family decided to start the restaurant together after years of working in separate places around New York City, and being treated poorly by owners.

“We all worked in different restaurants and they treated us unfairly,” Cruz said. “So we figured why work for someone else that treats you unfairly when we can all work together and treat each other and other people the way we wanted to be treated.”

And even though the restaurant hasn’t been opened for a week yet, Cruz said customers already can’t get enough of their food.

“I’ve had people that ordered, go home, call us to say thank you to the cook,” she said. “We didn’t expect for Staten Island to receive us the way they did.”