Bonita Mexican Steakhouse & Latin Inspired Grill is officially serving costumers in Rocky Point.
The new restaurant, which recently opened, is ran by Steve Salazar and his business partner, Adam Bianchino. Nestled at 49 N. County Road, the nearly 3,000-square-foot space has undergone a vibrant transformation, signaling the return of Salazar to the restaurant scene after a brief hiatus.
The restaurant’s roots trace back to Salazar’s family history, where dining out has been a tradition for decades. Inspired by his father, Raul, who arrived in the U.S. nearly 60 years ago and played guitar in New York City restaurants, Salazar’s childhood memories are filled with the hustle and bustle of the restaurant world.
“I remember being like eight years old walking around the restaurant thinking I worked there,” Salazar previously told GLI.
After the closure of his La Bonita Tacos & Tequila in Coram in mid-July, Salazar found himself yearning to return to the restaurant world. With a new partner, Bianchino, who started as a customer and became a business ally, Salazar is ready to introduce Bonita Mexican Steakhouse & Latin Inspired Grill to the community.
The vibe & menu
The restaurant’s menu promises a diverse culinary experience, drawing inspiration from Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba, as indicated by the “Latin Inspired Grill” in its name. Salazar emphasizes the international flair, stating, “We’re going to use dishes from everywhere, because that is what our chefs know.”
Bonita’s colorful journey to opening day has been well-documented on social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. The space, previously painted in dark hues, now radiates with a lively atmosphere, reflecting the diverse and flavorful offerings patrons can expect.
The restaurant boasts a seating capacity for nearly 100 diners, providing an intimate yet lively setting for guests. Excitement reached a peak with the recent acquisition of Bonita’s liquor license, a key milestone in preparation for the grand opening.
Bonita’s commitment to transparency extends beyond its vibrant decor. Salazar has deliberately kept the windows unobscured, inviting passersby to witness the restaurant’s progress. In a recent statement, he expressed, “I want people to come by, see what we’re doing, and all the progress.”
Longtime customers who frequented the old Coram location need not lament its closure, as Salazar anticipates their return. He notes, “A lot of people in this area, in Rocky Point, in Miller Place, they were customers of ours over there in Coram. And it’s still only 10-15 minutes away, so we’re really thankful to have that community and a new community.”
For Salazar, the restaurant business has been a lifelong passion, even during his years on Wall Street. Reflecting on his past as a Wall Street auditor, he said, “It was like a secondary education I was taking in without even realizing it.”
Now, with Bonita Mexican Steakhouse & Latin Inspired Grill, Salazar is eager to channel his decades of experience and expertise alongside his partner Bianchino and the restaurant’s dedicated staff.
“You can’t let it go, I guess,” Salazar said. “It’s something I know how to do, I’m good at it, I’ve been doing it for 30-40 years and we can’t wait to get going.”
Reporting with Jose Martinez