Angel Bermudez knows the food he serves at his new York City restaurant falls just a tad short of his high standards.
That's because "the best cook ever" was his mother, who died in 2011.
To honor her memory, Bermudez moved ahead with a longtime dream of opening his own restaurant serving authentic Puerto Rican cuisine — a goal he recently accomplished.
The restaurant, aptly named Bermudez, is located at 29 E. Princess St.
"I was inspired by my mother," he said. "The roots of it — it's all hers."
Open since September, Bermudez is building a customer base almost entirely through word of mouth.
Studio 29: Bermudez has partnered with Dommonick Chatman, a longtime friend and the building's owner, to bring customers through the door for another reason.
On the building's upper floors, Chatman has opened Studio 29, a networking and social space available for private events.
For now, Studio 29 is an open-ended project. Chatman said he'd like to see it emerge as a "small business incubator" for entrepreneurs.
He's planning to host regular networking events, open to the public and free. The first one in January attracted 35 people, he said.
"It's just come in, feel welcome," Chatman said. "There's no set agenda."
And, of course, good food on the first floor doesn't hurt.
The menu: The cuisine at Bermudez is seasoned with flavors like garlic, onions, peppers, cilantro and ginger, said Carlos Gomez, the restaurant's cook.
"We're not scared to use our spices," Gomez said.
But Puerto Rican cuisine is not necessarily spicy, Bermudez said.
The menu includes shrimp mofongo, a dish of stewed shrimp "in an authentic tomato wine garlic sauce served on a mound of seasoned mashed plantain," for $10.95.
Other options include beef strips stewed in a vinegar onion sauce for $8.95, baked pork infused with fresh garlic oil for $8.95 and various kinds of paninis.
Bermudez said he sensed an unfulfilled desire for authentic Puerto Rican cuisine in York County.
"I know that there's a lot of Spanish restaurants, but none of them had the flavors that I have," he said. "I wanted to bring something different."
The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for dine-in or carry-out.
To place an order, call (717) 843-0850.
— Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.