Dec. 15. 2021 By Michael Dorgan
It’s been a long time coming but a popular California-style Mexican restaurant has finally opened in Astoria.
Calexico opened last week at 32-07 30th Ave. and customers are at long last savoring the company’s much-lauded burritos, quesadillas and tacos.
The restaurant was initially scheduled to open in early 2020 but its plans were thrown off course when COVID-19 struck.
The eatery occupies the prominent corner of 30th Avenue and 32nd Street, where Salt and Bone Smokehouse was located before it closed in 2018.
The Astoria location is the company’s first in Queens and represents its fifth in New York City, according to its website. Calexico’s other New York City restaurants are in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It has one location outside of New York—in Detroit.
The company says it creates a fun and relaxed vibe inside its restaurants with music consisting of 60’s garage rock, vintage punk and old-school hip hop. The chain is also known for its Margaritas and happy hour specials.
The Astoria location will operate on a limited schedule over the next few weeks with opening hours from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, according to the chain’s Instagram page.
The restaurant will then be open seven days a week, and its hours will be expanded to include lunch.
Dave Vendley, who co-owns the restaurant chain with his two brothers, told the Queens Post in 2020 that his family always wanted to open a location in Astoria.
“It was the first area we lived in when we first moved to New York City,” Vendley said, who moved to the Big Apple from California with his brothers. “We absolutely love the area and have always wanted to open a restaurant in the neighborhood.”
Calexico was founded by the brothers after arriving in New York. They are from Calexico, California—hence the restaurant’s name.
The town is on the border of California and Mexico and much of its cuisine is a hybrid of food dishes from Southern California and Mexico.
The brothers got into the restaurant business after they set up a food cart in SoHo in 2006 to pay homage to that cuisine.