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Will Manhattanites Taste Jimmy Rodriguez’s Caribbean Cuisine?


544 West 27th Street.
544 West 27th Street.

Jimmy Rodriguez, who made Jimmy’s Bronx Cafe famous before it closed a decade ago, is hoping to bring Caribbean-inspired cuisine to Manhattan, Commercial Observer has learned.

Mr. Rodriguez, who opened Don Coqui‘s third location in the City Island section of the Bronx in January, is negotiating to lease a 10,000-square-foot space at 544 West 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues for a Manhattan Don Coqui restaurant.

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The 27th Street spot was last home to Son Cubano, an Old Havana type supper club, and to dance club and lounge Cain before that.

“It’s a restaurant and borderline nightclub kind of thing where people have dinner and then after they can dance,” said hospitality specialist Michael Sottile, who recently left Picken Real Estate to head up Siderow Commercial Group‘s hospitality and hotels division.

Mr. Rodriguez has already secured a cabaret license for the Don Coqui Meatpacking District place which will have a family-style, seafood-centric menu, Mr. Sottile said.

The restaurant and lounge will occupy 5,000 square feet on the ground floor and private dining and a kitchen will occupy the 5,000 square feet on the second floor. Plus Mr. Rodriguez will provide catering services. The asking rent for the space is $40,000 per month.

“He’s catering to a demographic that’s underserved,” Mr. Sottile said. It’s an older group that “wants to go out and have a nice night, have a great time” without the 20-something club kids hanging around.

Mr. Sottile said the Manhattan location could open by December if not before.