December 15, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
It’s been a long time, but a popular California-style Mexican restaurant has finally opened in Astoria.
Calexico opened last week at 32-07 30e Ave. and customers finally enjoy the company’s beloved burritos, quesadillas and tacos.
The restaurant was originally scheduled to open in early 2020, but its plans were derailed when COVID-19 hit.
The restaurant occupies the prominent corner of 30e Avenue and 32nd Street, where Salt and Bone Smokehouse was located before it closed in 2018.
Astoria’s 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 restaurants can be found in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It has a location outside of New York, in Detroit.
The company says it creates a fun, relaxed vibe inside its restaurants with music consisting of 60s garage rock, vintage punk, and old-fashioned hip hop. The chain is also known for its Margaritas and happy hours.
The Astoria site will operate on a limited schedule over the next few weeks with hours of operation from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, according to the channel’s Instagram page.
The restaurant will then be open seven days a week and its hours will be extended to include lunch.
Dave Vendley, co-owner of the restaurant chain with his two brothers, told the Queens Post in 2020 that his family had always wanted to open a restaurant in Astoria.
“It was the first neighborhood we lived in when we first moved to New York City,” said Vendley, who moved to the Big Apple from California with his brothers. “We love the area and have always wanted to open a restaurant in the neighborhood.”
Calexico was founded by the brothers after their arrival in New York. They are from Calexico, California, hence the name of the restaurant.
The city is on the border of California and Mexico, and much of its cuisine is a hybrid of dishes from Southern California and Mexico.
The brothers got into the restaurant business after setting up a food cart in SoHo in 2006 to pay homage to the kitchen.