If you’re heading west on Middle Country Road toward Wading River, it’s easy to drive past Golden Jalapeños Café, a recently opened Tex-Mex joint in Calverton Commons. But this unique eatery, which is owned and operated by Flanders couple Luis Siguencia and his wife, Geidi Lezama, is worth making a U-turn for.
For starters, the restaurant, which opened quietly last fall, has an extensive and eclectic menu offering everything from authentic Mexican-style tacos (marinated chicken with onions, cilantro, radishes and salsa ranchera on a crispy corn tortilla) to rotisserie chicken and spare ribs.
Best of all, Siguencia said, everything at Golden Jalapeños is fresh and homemade.
“I tell people, ‘I’m not your grandma but I cook like the old days,” he said. “Here, everything is from scratch.”
“Me and my wife do all the cooking,” continued Siguencia, 38, an Ecuador native who grew up in Astoria and has been working in commercial kitchens since he was 14. “I cut the meat; she marinates the meat. She does all the salsa and she makes one of the best guacamoles.”
Siguencia, who has worked at World Pie restaurant in Bridgehampton since 1989 and still does night shifts there, said he wanted to open an eatery that showcased what he loves doing best: cooking.
“I work in the kitchen 24 hours,” he said. “I don’t get tired.”
Neither, it seems, does Lezama, 35, who grew up in Puebla, Mexico, and met her husband while working at World Pie. The couple has a 12-year-old daughter, Joanne, who attends Riverhead Charter School and often joins her parents at the restaurant.
At Golden Jalapeños, Siguencia uses local vegetables whenever possible and incorporates them into dishes like broccoli quiche and fresh smoothies.
“We use local vegetables whenever we can and as much as we can,” Lezama said.
And while the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers something for everyone — including a number of gluten-free options and homemade desserts like tres leches cake — Siguencia and Lezama’s specialty is their flavorful take on Tex-Mex.
Customers especially love the generously filled burritos, Siguencia said, and barbecued pulled pork tacos with coleslaw, tomatoes and queso fresco.
Lezama makes salsa every day using a secret recipe not even her husband is privy to and Siguencia incorporates cilantro and peppers grown in his own garden into the restaurant’s enchiladas and salads.
And despite working an average of 80 hours each week, Siguencia said he’s relishing having his own restaurant.
“It’s a lot of work having this business, but when you love what you do, you don’t get tired,” he said. “And you always get to meet new people.”
“It feels good when they come in and you kind of turn them into your family,” Lezama added.
Golden Jalapeños Café is located at 4486 Middle Country Road in the Calverton Commons shopping center. It’s open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. For more information, go to goldenjalapenostexmex.com or check them out on Facebook.