Tikal 1 offers Mexican, Guatemalan fusion in Greenport

Gelen Giron, Gilberto Leon and Emma Rodriguez of Tikal 1. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Gelen Giron, Gilberto Leon and Emma Rodriguez of Tikal 1. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Mexican cuisine meets Guatemalan spice at a recently opened eatery in Greenport.

Tikal 1, which opened its doors on Front Street late last month, is the new venture from Southold couple Carlos Gonzalez and his wife Emma Rodriguez as well as Rodriguez’s daughter Gelen Giron and her husband Gilberto Leon. The younger pair live in Greenport.

Leon hails from Mexico while the rest of the family is Guatemalan

“It’s a fusion between the two cultures,” Leon said of the cuisine at the new eatery. “Gelen’s mother, (Rodriguez), she’s the one that takes care of the Mexican cooking.”

The restaurant was named in honor of the ancient city of Tikal, the site of one of the largest Mayan ruins in Guatemala. A mural on the back wall, painted by Gonzalez, pays homage to a pyramid like the ones where his ancestors likely worshipped.

The menu includes Mexican favorites like tacos and empanadas, but also Guatemalean fare like chicken pepian, which is chicken boiled then lightly fried and served in a rich green sauce.

And some dishes incorporate elements from both cultures.

The Tikal Steak is seasoned with Guatemalan spices yet served with Mexican staples like chorizo and guacamole.

The family members have worked numerous jobs in the community over the years, Leon said, and his wife attended Greenport High School.

“We’re local people. We’ve been here for many years,” he said. “They love to cook, so we’ve been looking for a places. We’ve been looking at other spaces, but they weren’t big enough The opportunity came up and we got in here.”

The menu is affordable with chicken, carnitas, chorizo and suadero tacos costing just $2.50 and tostadas at $2. Tikal 1 also serves breakfast, like ts ranchero omelet and pancakes, all day long.

Leon noted that other than La Cascade on Route 48 in Southold, there are few options for authentic Mexican food east of County Road 105.

“There’s not many places for Mexican food,” he said. “Otherwise, people go to Riverhead.”

Tikal 1 is located at 110 Front Street in Greenport. For more info call (631) 333-2018.

Tikal 1 in Greenport. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Tikal 1 in Greenport. (Credit: Vera Chinese)