They hired me as the executive chef and the only way I would even consider taking the job, was to have equity in the business. (Sorry, my parents taught me well!)
Main Street was an instant success on the UWS serving American food, “Family Style.”
It was our 1st venture as a restaurant group, and there were many bumps throughout the 5 year operation.
In early 1998 as Main Street was on a downward spin, I went to Cuba to meet a girl that one of my American friends had fallen in love with.
He wanted to marry her and bring her back to the states. I was skeptical, had a few days off, so I headed to Havana Vieja for a few days for approval.
The girl was lovely, but she turned out to be bad news for my friend and eventually married someone with more money than him!
On the 3rd day of being in Havana Vieja, I was relaxing on the Malecon, reading a book and listening to 5 guys play old school salsa.
I had lived in Miami for 2 years while attending Florida International University, and was quite hip to the Latin Culture.
As the music was playing in my ears, an Epiphany erupted!
Let’s close Main Street, Open Calle Ocho with great music, great food and great drinks and we will rock!
I headed back to NYC a few days later and told my partners my idea.
Main Street closed 3 weeks later and 5 months later Calle Ocho was born!
It was an immediate success and was a perfect addition to the Upper West Side!
In the last 13 years, we have served well over 1 Million people and we have never lost our passion for making people happy!
The biggest achievement for me and Calle Ocho, was that is where I met my lovely wife, Carolyn, aka Mrs. Z-
Without Calle Ocho- Carolyn would have never made me complete~
Stay tuned for the new Calle Ocho Opening on 81st street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue!