Is it just me, or are there a lot more Mexican Restaurants now than ever before? Don’t get me wrong, this is the best culinary news I’ve heard in a long time, but as a person so inclined to pay attention to real estate trends, I was stricken with a looming question: Why?
That’s when it hit me: I have a huge personal connection to the culinary world, not to mention the Mexican culinary scene that seems to be emerging. So, why not exploit that connection? That’s when I decided to schedule, because yes, I had to schedule, an interview with my very own husband, Jason Steinberg, owner of French bistro, Saint George in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY and Managing Partner at Tortilleria La Milpa de Rosa in Yonkers, NY.
When asked about what made Jason decide to open a tortilleria in the first place, he replied, “it was simple. At the restaurant, we employ a lot of men and women from Mexico, and typically, for staff meal, they like to make tacos. One day, they were griping about how the tortillas in New York weren’t very good. That’s when it hit me: open a tortilleria.” Tortillas made from maseca, or corn flour, are commonly found in New York, but it’s very difficult to find any made from real corn. “After researching, it became clear that there’s a huge hole in the market, especially in New York, for authentic, commercial, corn tortillas,” he expanded. And the rest is history.
That’s all good and well, but the question is still left unanswered: why are there so many emerging Mexican restaurants throughout the US? So, we elaborated. While they offer healthy, low-carb cuisine, something most people are thrilled about, the actual restaurants remain inexpensive, fun, casual, fast and easy, not to mention, the food travels well, increasing take-out or take-away business. Jason went on that “much like when there was a huge wave of Italian immigrants into the states, they brought delicious and authentic Italian Food. The same goes for all immigrants and cuisines, and Mexican food is no exception.” Although we have been exposed to TexMex for along time, it is vastly different from authentic Mexican, and many people are beginning to realize and appreciate the real culture and cuisine of Mexico.
For real estate purposes, Mexican restaurants can be a gold mine when done correctly. They do not require large spaces, which in turn require less start-up capital. With rising rents throughout the US, a big lease can be scary for a lot of business owners. Smaller spaces mean less tables, chairs, plates, silverware, glasses, etc. and because many Mexican restaurants are casual they can typically turn over tables more quickly and operate at a higher volume allowing for more customers and more money. Lastly, despite how delicious all of the food is, the food cost is very low, which is wonderful for both diners and owners alike.
Of course, this isn’t an absolute sure-fire equation for any and all Mexican restaurants, but this is a general idea for smaller, local Mexican restaurants. Larger, chain and some TexMex places, may be able to afford a bigger lease as well as maintain a larger space.
As a quick recap, here is what smaller, local Mexican restaurants may be looking for an in potential space:
- Smaller Spaces
- Reasonable Rents and Leases
- Kitchen Space
- Parking Dependent on Area
Because of both the real estate perks and the new cultural appreciation for Mexican cuisine and it’s affordability for both diners and business owners alike, there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of Mexican restaurants throughout the United States, swelling throughout neighborhoods where the population and demographics expand outside of primarily Mexican communities. According to ABC News, there were 38,000 Mexican restaurants throughout the United States in 2011, a number that has only increased. Additionally, Bloomberg correctly stated in 2013 that the future of restaurants chains in the US would be Mexican. Lastly, in an emerging trend, LA Weekly described Mexican Gastropubs as a rising trend as Mexican food and craft beer “proved a perfect fit”.
So, no matter where in the United States you are, it looks like you can take advantage of the delicious food Mexican restaurants have to offer. Happy eating!