2010-02-12 / Community

Bringing The Fiesta To Rockaway

By Mallory Wyman

Margaritas Mexican Restaurant chain, a full-service, casual dining restaurant and lounge, is looking to open a branch in Rockaway in the coming year, according to Thomas Radomski, Vice President of Franchise Development. The restaurant chain already has 19 locations throughout New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Radomski said they worked with the Customer Analytics firm Buxton to determine that Rockaway has the prime demographic for a successful Mexican restaurant and bar. Basically, young people who like to drink and occasionally toss back a taco, as 40 percent of the chain’s revenues come from drinks, including the eponymous margaritas.

But aside from raising the collective blood-alcohol level of Rockaway residents, Margaritas also serves to cure the hangover with a strong dose of community outreach. The restaurant tries to promote Mexican artisans from the Guadalajara region by decorating their stores with authentic handmade pieces including hand-carved chairs and tables tiled on site with Mexican tiles. There is also a visiting artists program in which Mexican artisans are invited to set up a workshop within the restaurant and spend five hours crafting original pieces while diners are able to watch and ask questions through an interpreter. The artisans also visit local schools to teach students about Mexican culture and crafts.

The restaurant serves a wide variety of standard Mexican fare including several vegetarian dishes. Radomski describes the dining experience as going to Mexico without having to travel. Margaritas also hosts several special events throughout the year. Look for Full Moon Madness once a month on, you guessed it, the full moon. The event includes food specials, giveaways and contests.

In an additional bout of community involvement, 5 percent of the night’s gross lounge sales are donated to a local charity. And of course, no Mexican restaurant would be complete without a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Radomski said they are in the process now of searching out a proper location in Rockaway. Unlike most franchises, Margaritas can work with an existing restaurant space or start from scratch.

While all are similarly themed and decorated with imported Mexican elements, each Margaritas is unique. Their search includes sites anywhere from 4,200- to 14,000-square feet, and Radomski believes New York City and its surrounding areas can support up to 15 Margaritas restaurants.

So grab your sombrero and get ready for a tequila-soaked future.

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