It’s not just the family ties that bind the two sets of siblings behind Ruta Oaxaca.
The Mexican restaurant — which is aiming to open a second Long Island location this November in Woodbury — will be the third outpost of an eatery launched in January 2021 by brothers Jose and Pedro Castillo and chefs Carlos and Felipe Arellano.
Theirs is a partnership that was forged more than 20 years ago when all were starting out as restaurant workers.
“All of us started from the bottom — dishwasher, prep, line cook, sous chef,” said Jose Castillo, a Hauppauge resident who got his start washing dishes at a Mexican restaurant in Huntington Village. “We’ve got tons of experience and we love what we do.”
“So far, so good, we can’t complain,” Castillo said of the Patchogue location. “It’s a great town that’s going in a good direction.”
Next up for the budding restaurant — which Castillo describes as “authentic-style Mexican” with “moles more flavorful than Oaxaca” — is a branch on Jericho Turnpike in the Woodbury Town Plaza, followed by another early next year in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
“We want to put on a magical experience,” Castillo said. “We dress the place up like you’re going to be on a vacation.”
The Arellano brothers, who were born in Oaxaca, will lead a kitchen staff that honors their home state in the southern part of Mexico with four types of moles, handmade corn tortillas, 50 ancestral mezcales and more than 100 varieties of tequila.
“Try our delicious enchiladas mole,” Jose Castillo said of the dish featuring chicken, Oaxaca mole, queso fresco, crema, onions and cilantro. “People think we have one of the best moles.”
Castillo said he learned to most appreciate dealing with restaurant patrons following his time as a dishwasher.
“The kitchen wasn’t my favorite,” he said. “So I moved to the front of the house and I love the interaction with the customers and making people feel special.”
Castillo said the dual sets of brothers cannot wait to open the doors to the latest Ruta Oaxaca in Woodbury.
“We have one formula,” he said. “And this is our passion.”
If you go
The newest Ruta Oaxaca will be open seven days a week in the Woodbury Town Plaza at 8025 Jericho Turnpike. Hours will be Monday to Thursday from noon to 10 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. Click here to check out the full menu, or to order online from any of the existing locations.
Top: Owner Jose Castillo, Iris Castillo, and chef Carlos Arellanoafter cutting the ribbon for Ruta Oaxaca in Patchogue Village in 2022. (Credit: Nick Grasso/GLI file photo)