Mamajuana Cafe, the New York-based Dominican Restaurant, Makes Philly Debut in Fishtown

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Mamajuana Cafe exterior
Image via Jensen Toussaint.
Mamajuana Cafe has opened its 12 location. It's Philadelphia location in Fishtown is its biggest yet.

The Dominican and Latino communities in Philadelphia have a new addition to its restaurant scene with the opening of Mamajuana Cafe in Fishtown.

This marks the cafe’s 12th location overall and its first in Pennsylvania.

Mamajuana Cafe’s new location in Philly can be credited in large part to two leaders of the local Latino community, Javier Suarez and Antonio Valdes.

Longtime friends, one of the topics the two of them often discuss is what Philadelphia can do to better represent the emerging communities that are here in the city. 

“When you travel around the country, you often see restaurants like this, that Latinos own and we didn’t see quite enough of them in Philadelphia,” said Suarez during an interview. “There are some and they’re wonderful, they are led by great entrepreneurs, and they contribute to the city immensely, but we think that there’s room for more.”

Antonio Valdes (left) and Javier Suarez (right) were key cogs to helping bring Mamajuana Cafe to Philly.

Specifically, the two of them thought: Wouldn’t it be cool to bring Mamajuana Cafe to Philly?

That question led to multiple conversations with the owners in New York, which ultimately led to its opening in Philly.

Mamajuana Cafe is known for its Dominican bites and Latin cuisine. The Philly location also offers extensive vegan options, a two-sided bar, island-style cocktails, and much more.

Its location in Fishtown places it in close proximity to venues like The Fillmore, Brooklyn Bowl, Rivers Casino, and others, adds yet another layer of vibrancy to the increasingly thriving neighborhood.

“We thought this was a natural fit,” said Suarez. “It just turned out that this location had been vacant for some time. So, in addition to finding a location that we think was really ideal for the owners’ vision and business model, we also were able to bring something to this location that had been sitting vacant for some time.”

Mamajuana is just one piece of the puzzle in highlighting the diverse communities that comprise the Philadelphia population.

“This is just the beginning,” said Valdes. “I want us to be inspired by this … and what Philadelphia could look like 10 years from now.”

To learn more about the newest addition to the Latino dining scene in Philly, visit Mamajuana Cafe.

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