Cafe Society

Los Carboncitos clan opening a new Yucatán-style restaurant in Sunnyside

We here at Cafe Society headquarters love our taquerias, and Los Carbonicitos, which has three locations scattered across the city, is definitely one of our favorites. We can't get enough of the joint's street tacos, the Goliath-size tortas, the namesake carboncitos, the superb huaraches, the incendiary salsas.

The trio of taquerias, all of which are owned by the brothers León -- Ignacio, Roberto and Ceasar -- have continued to evolve, the menus becoming increasingly more extensive, the quarters, most notably the outpost just off Sixth Avenue and Sheridan, considerably larger, and the Aurora location, 15210 East Sixth Avenue, even has a liquor license.

And now the three brothers are opening a fourth restaurant, Paxia - Alta Cocina Mexicana, in the space at 4001 Tejon Street that was originally slated for Botto, a Northern Italian restaurant that Steve and Michelle Gelman, who shuttered their original Gelman's restaurant at 2911 West 38th Avenue and reopened it as the Boston Fish Shack (it's now the Stingray), had hoped to unlock late last year.

"Steve and I got the place ready, and we were moving forward, but I had to get some pretty serious back surgery, and we were out of the country for a few months, so we took a break from it all, and when we got back, we wanted to simplify our lives, and a lot of people started approaching us about the leasing the building," says Michelle.

But she and Steve were picky: "We talked to a lot of folks who we didn't think were right for the Sunnyside neighborhood -- a neighborhood that we love -- and we wanted to be sure that we leased the space to people who understood what this neighborhood needed and what this neighborhood is about," she explains.

When the León brothers approached her and Steve, the Gelmans found their new tenant. "We loved that it was a real family affair, and we loved what they wanted to do here -- upscale Yucatán-style cuisine with a lot of seafood -- so we finished out the space for them, built a great patio, a full tequila-lounge area and a fireplace. Their success is important to us," says Michelle.

The restaurant opens on Friday, August 12, and will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson