Where once was the former Azzurro’s Pizzeria at 204 Jericho Tpke., stands a brand new restaurant, Noches de Colombia, that recently opened in Mineola after almost eight months of renovations.
Owned by John Velez, the family owned and operated restaurant, which can seat approximately 110 people, already has 18 different locations in New Jersey, three locations in New York and is opening its first location in Stamford, CT, soon.
“We wanted to expand to New York, so we picked Long Island,” said general manager of Noches de Colombia Elizabeth Gutierrez. “There was a need for it in the community, so we picked Mineola.”
At Noches de Colombia, an array of different Colombian food is served, from arroz con pollo, which is a chicken dish with rice and vegetables, to crispy camarones y salmon, which is a dish of crispy breaded shrimp and grilled salmon that is served with a baked potato and a side of guacamole, to bandeja paisa—a typical Colombian dish of steak, crackling pork, chorizo, eggs, and rice and beans, which according to Gutierrez, is its most popular dish.
“It’s [the bandeja paisa] a big plate,” explained Gutierrez. “We sell the big one and the small one.”
Noches de Colombia also has a bakery in the front of its establishment, which is a unique aspect to a restaurant.
“We wanted to introduce the bakery because it’s a unique thing to have around here [in Mineola],” said Gutierrez. “There’s no bakery around here. Pandebono is our most popular bakery item. We have a lot of sweet pastries and bread, too.”
Besides panedebono, which is the restaurant’s signature cheesy sweet bread, other items that are served in the bakery include chorizo, which is Noches de Colombia’s signature Colombian sausage, arepa con queso, which is corn cake with cheese, and empanada de carne.
Cocktails, such as mojitos, margaritas, beer and wine, are also on the menu.
“Mojitos are the most popular right now,” laughed Gutierrez. “We also have our passion fruit sangria, too.”
Overall, the community has supported the new business venture.
“There’s a lot of people coming out, especially Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” said Gutierrez. “And the week is good too.”
Noches de Colombia is open Sundays through Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.