The family that drew politicians, stars and everyday people to the Bronx to enjoy Latin cuisine and music at Jimmy's Bronx Cafe is returning to the borough, as the Rodriguezes are opening a new restaurant on City Island. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Ten years after the legendary Jimmy's Bronx Cafe closed, its owner, Jimmy Rodriguez Jr., is bringing his signature style back to the borough, opening up the third of his Don Coqui chain in the old Lighthouse Restaurant on City Island.
"We have Don Coqui in New Rochelle, we have Don Coqui in White Plains, and now, we're back where it all started," Rodriguez Jr. said.
Now, it's a family affair. The Bronx-born restaurateur is passing the torch to his children.
"To work with them on a daily basis and go over the plans of what we're doing and what's going on a daily basis and growing the company is amazing," he said.
Rodriguez Jr. starts off each new restaurant, and then Jaleene, Jewelle and Jimmy III take over, with Dad in the background, lending a hand when needed.
"One minute, it seems like he's just trying to teach you and just wants you to follow along, and then the next minute, he's throwing you right to the wolves and making you make all the decisions and really having you take over," Jimmy Rodriguez III said.
Fans of Jimmy's or any of Rodriguez's other establishments shouldn't be worried just because a younger generation is now running the business. Rodriguez's children say they know that patrons have great expectations, and they're serious about living up to and surpassing those standards.
"Growing up in the business and having had a family who was doing something a bit different at the time, it felt very important to continue that and honor that," Jewelle Rodriguez said.
Don Coqui will also add a new flavor to City Island.
"We're bringing in the club scene, but a very upscale version of a club scene," Jaleene Rodriguez said. "We feature all different genres of music on any given night. We do have salsa nights. We have Latin jazz nights."
Not to mention, the restaurant's cuisine is different from what you'd typically find on the island.
"We're Caribbean-driven, whereas Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban cuisine," Jimmy Rodriguez Jr. said.
You can taste for yourself. Don Coqui City Island is scheduled to open to the public early next week.