The Citiblog

Saying Goodbye to Rincon Criollo after 42 Years in Queens
September 2, 2023, 11:15.54 am ET



After 42 years in Queens, Rincon Criolla is making a move from Queens to Long Island. Surging rent and quality of life issues making doing business for this Cuban institution on Junction Boulevard unbearable, so it is packing up and leaving the city behind.

Long Island’s gain is NYC’s loss. Esther Acosta, one of the owners, saying in an Instagram post by Righteous Eats, there used to be a togetherness in Corona, but now people just don’t care. She says people walking by throw garbage right in front of the door. Acosta adding, “You can love something but if you don’t take care of it, water it, and nurture it, it’s not going to grow”

Rincon Criolla is well known for its Cuban sandwiches, pork-filled Cuban tamal, Rabo Encendido (stewed oxtails), and Palomilla Steak with grilled onions. The restaurant is also known for its Cuban coffee and desserts like Buñuelos, fried dough made with yuca and sweet potato topped with homemade honey sauce.

Acosto says they are taking everything with them, the pots and pans, the cooks, the staff to Garden City, Long Island. The new location, she says, is much larger with space for a bar and dance floor and maybe some salsa. But those red checkered tablecloths, camaraderie and pictures lining the walls celebrating Cuban culture in the city are simply irreplaceable.

[Update: Rincon Criollo on its website says its last day in Queens will be September 21, 2023. It had been expected to close on August 31st]