Can Mexican cuisine succeed where Greek, pan-Mediterranean and New American have failed? Margarita’s Café is going to try. The Williston Park restaurant opens on Thursday in a spot that has hosted three tenants — Madison’s on Hillside, Xarello and, most recently, Taverna 38 — in the last five years. They succeeded Ivy Cottage, which had a 14-year run at this address.
Margarita’s Café, the sixth in a mini-chain, may just be the restaurant to break the curse. Starting with one location in East Meadow in 2010, owner Willie Martinez has gone on to open branches of the same name in Hicksville, Wantagh, Merrick and Smithtown. (He is also a partner, along with Inmar Fuentes and Greg Garofalo of The Cuban in Garden City.)
Martinez said that it was his customers who suggested he open in Williston Park. “We have customers who come to East Meadow from Williston Park,” he said. “I liked the location, and I liked that there were no other Mexican restaurants around.”
Margarita’s Café has a vast menu of Mexican, Tex-Mex and Mexican-American dishes, among them guacamole made in a molcajete, jalapeño poppers, fried calamari served with salsa verde, salsa blanca and salsa roja, tortilla soup, tacos (wrapped in hard or soft corn or flour tortillas), burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, fajitas and chimichangas.
Most appetizers and salads are less than $10, most mains less than $16, though some of the non-Mexican items are more: grilled salmon ($18.95), jambalaya ($19.95), paella ($26.95) and veal Garibaldi (a chop served with onions, peppers, chilies and adobo, $28.95).
38 Hillside Ave., Williston Park, 516-745-0033, margaritascafe.com