The Digest’s annual Restaurant Guide will be stuffed in mailboxes around Hudson County in the next couple weeks, but we’re so excited about our content we couldn’t wait to share some of it with our readers.
Jersey City restaurants are constantly popping up each year, but not all of them become profitable. So I recently interviewed Alex Gonzalez, owner of the Cuban-Latin restaurant La Conguita in Jersey City to get the inside scoop on what it takes to run a successful business in such a cutthroat field. Here are a few bits of info I learned from our chat:
La Conguita’s website notes that Alex’s parents left Cuba in 1967 in hopes of building a better life for their family in the states– and indeed they did. La Conguita opened on Grove Street in 1980 as a candy shop, but was eventually transformed into a cafeteria-type eatery.
Now the restaurant has expanded and includes a menu that gives nods to dishes Alex ate as a child, like the Picadillo lunch special which includes ground beef with spices, potatoes, raisins and olives, served over white rice and plantains. “Simple but flavorful” is La Conguita’s motto.
Alex spent his youth in the restaurant and eventually progressed into taking on the daily responsibilities of being the owner after graduating college. He discussed an array of topics with me, but the underlining theme of the importance of his family and his loyal customers always resonated in his responses. He somehow manages to split his time between the restaurant, where he can be found six days a week, and with his growing family, including his three-year old child.
The full piece that will be featured in our latest issue will continue to discuss Alex’s upbringing, his daily tasks as a restaurant owner, and the biggest challenges he faces in running a longstanding restaurant.
Make sure to flip through the pages of the March/April issue of the Digest to get the full scoop. Maybe you’ll be inspired to open your own restaurant.