STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A native of the village of Linderos del Sur in Puebla, Mexico, Santiago Roesundo learned how to cook from his mother, who whipped up a plethora of cultural dishes.'My passion for cooking began by watching my mother in the kitchen when I was young. She would bring so many smiles to people's faces with her cooking,' he said, noting Linderos del Sur is a small village about 400 miles south of Mexico City.So at a young age, Roesundo -- who now lives with his wife of 20 years and their three children in Rosebank --wanted to create those same smiles for people as a professional chef.
He immigrated to America at age 13, and started as a bus boy. Roesundo eventually became the head chef at the Woodrow Dinner in Rossville and at Annadale Terrace in Annadale.Co-owner and Chef Santiago Roesundo makes an omelet with beans and avocado. Dec.
8, 2022 (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)But he always wanted to live the American dream of owning his own restaurant.And after recently meeting fellow Rosebank resident John Spagnoli -- who was formerly in the restaurant business and holds a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management -- that dream became reality.The two men saw an opportunity to partner in the restaurant business. They chose Rosebank to upstart the eatery where they could cater to families -- many of whom might be struggling during tough economic times -- by serving up authentic Mexican cuisine at affordable prices.'Although there are many fine, upscale restaurants in Rosebank this still remains a working class neighborhood,' said Spagnoli. 'We felt we would fill a need with a family restaurant with moderate prices or even those considered ‘low' in today's economy.
... We wanted to provide good food without breaking the bank.' Avocado Mexican Grilled and Coffee in Rosebank is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)The pair opened Avocado Mexican Grilled and Coffee on Tompkins Avenue in Rosebank in September in the space that was formerly an Italian restaurant.And when the budding restaurateurs saw the space was already designed with southern rustic decor, 'it just fit' for their new Mexican eatery, said Spagnoli.'It already looked like a Mexican Cantina.
There are murals that look as if they are scenes from Mexico,' he said. 'We added avocados and vegetables [decor] on the walls and Mexican and American flags. With the wood beams on the ceiling, it really looks like a hacienda.'Manager/waiter Cesar Padilla serves their number one customer Sergio Fernandez at Avocado Mexican Grilled and Coffee in Rosebank.
(Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)MENU ITEMSAvocado Mexican Grilled and Coffee serves traditional Mexican fare. Some of Roesundo's specialities include creamy chipotle shrimp with bell peppers and green onions over rice, and plato ranchero (grilled chicken with chorizo, fried cheese, onions jalapeno and nopales (cactus) with tortillas.Avocado Mexican Grilled and Coffee serves traditional Mexican fare. Pictured is tortilla soup.
(Courtesy of Avocado Mexican Grilled and Coffee).'Santiago's tortilla soup is to die for,' said Spagnoli.The restaurant's menu also has a variety of American fare favorites, such as burgers, grilled cheese and chicken fingers for the kids. And it's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.In addition to seating for about 45 people, the eatery has a back room that can host parties of up to 60 people. Avocado Mexican Grilled and Coffee in Rosebank opened in September.
(Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)'We want people when they walk in to not feel like they're going to a restaurant, but like they're coming home,' said Spagnoli. 'And we have that atmosphere with kids are running around and families dining here. If you come in with a frown on your face, we want you to leave with a smile.'Avocado Mexican Grilled and Coffee serves traditional Mexican fare (Courtesy of Avocado Mexican Grilled and Coffee).AVOCADO MEXICAN GRILLED AND COFFEE AT A GLANCEAddress: 452 Tompkins Ave., RosebankWebsite: avocadomexicangrilledandcoffee.weebly.comFacebook: URL Businesses in Focus is a weekly column that relates the stories of new Staten Island business owners.If you have a new business on Staten Island, e-mail EMAIL.RELATED COLUMNS:These 2 Staten Island nurses believe IV hydration drips and vitamin shots are key to long-term healthStaten Islander launches new dating, social groups for developmentally disabled young adultsFormer Park Hill Apartments resident finds success with unique balloon-decor businessHere's how one Staten Island woman became a health and wellness expert‘I learned to just go for my dreams,' Staten Islander launches 2 businesses in less than 1 yearFOLLOW TRACEY PORPORA ON FACEBOOK and TWITTER