It’s been a rough spell for the restaurant space at 40th Avenue and Tejon Street in Sunnyside. Two summers ago, Paxia closed after five years there, then Lot 14 Bistro shuttered after just five months in business. Now a new Latin American restaurant is taking over the building. Necio Latin Eatery will open by mid-June, serving dishes from Mexico as well as Central and South America.
Chef Angel Bañales is creating the menu for his family’s restaurant. A Sunnyside native, he’s tapping into previous training in kitchens like Range, Tamayo, and Rioja, as well as his father’s Mexican cooking background and his mother’s Guatemalan recipes. His great-great-grandmother’s Oaxacan mole will be featured, as will a deconstructed banana leaf-wrapped tamale. Empanadas, enchiladas, and ceviche are in the works, as well as churros and horchata. Bañales’ longtime friend Andrea Cervantes will run the bar program with elevated mezcal, tequila, and rum cocktails. Cervantes previously worked as a Tamayo bartender.
Down the street, the same team operates My Vision Nutrition, a smoothie and lunch counter with prepared meals also available for pickup or delivery. My Vision is relocating next door to Necio, so the two businesses can share a kitchen. The daytime operation will stick to Cervantes’ passion for health food, while the dinner and weekend brunch-serving restaurant will lean toward “homey” and “street-style” staples. Necio translates to “stubborn” or “foolish” and is a word Bañales’ mother would use to describe him as a boy, he says. “My mom used to call me ‘necio,’ but look where it got us.”