Mystery Clouds the Return of Mexican Kitchen

Photo Courtesy of Kyle Bredberg

On the morning of Sept. 29, 2022, a devastating fire erupted in the attic of New Paltz restaurant, Mexican Kitchen, causing the building to be demolished shortly after. The restaurant changed ownership, and then in early 2023, construction began on the new building, creating a space that had a larger and more accommodating interior for sit-down diners. In an interview with Hudson Valley One, current owner Nick Woerner said that the restaurant would be returning to New Paltz in either “September or October.” But now, in late November, the restaurant’s lights remain off and the interior is empty of diners. This has led many wondering if Mexican Kitchen is still planning on re-opening. 

Recently, the company’s Instagram page updated its bio, stating that the restaurant would be “re-arriving in late 2023,” but no more definitive information about the re-opening exists. The restaurant’s social media pages have been putting out consistent updates on the situation, with a recent post from Nov. 14 stating that the company “can’t wait to be part of this amazing community again! Let’s make new memories together!” That was followed shortly after by a post on Nov. 17, which asked potential customers to give their opinions on how spicy they like their food before stating that “recipe development is underway.” These posts followed others which repeatedly expressed the company’s gratitude to its customers, excitement for returning and asked questions about which recipes and dishes to bring back as the restaurant re-opens. 

These posts were met with enthusiasm in the comment sections and show that real progress is being made towards the re-opening, despite the lack of a definitive date. One fourth year SUNY New Paltz student and Mexican Kitchen customer, Nikki Ross, was especially excited about the return of Mexican Kitchen due to its vegan cheese. “I’m a vegan, so I’m honestly pretty excited about more options being available to me and others in town! Mexican Kitchen having vegan cheese makes it easy to swap out, allowing for even more options for us to choose,” said Ross.

The restaurant, located at 15 ½ North Front Street has been a staple of New Paltz since its inception in 2015. Locals and college students alike are excited to see the iconic brand return as a Mexican restaurant, rather than have it been converted into a French restaurant, a plan that was proposed in early 2023, but abandoned due to pushback from the community. 

While Mexican Kitchen did not respond when asked for a comment on the re-opening of the restaurant, the owners appear committed to the goal of a late 2023 opening. Hopefully, come the new year, New Paltz residents can enjoy dining at Mexican Kitchen once again, a delight absent in New Paltz since 2022. 

To stay updated on the return of Mexican Kitchen, follow their Instagram @mexicankitchennp and Facebook page “Mexican Kitchen.”