HUNTINGTON, New York -- Two of the most important things to Long Island's Alan Gotay are family and food.
He took the two things he loves the most and turned it into BabaluNY, a restaurant consisting of Cuban Mediterranean fusion, covered in 'I Love Lucy' décor, and pictures honoring his family heritage.
Alan collaborated with his mom, Leticia, and worked together on creating a place where customers can feel like they've transported to their own Little Havana.
"You'll find dishes in the restaurant that are part Cuban, part Puerto Rican, some Spaniard-Mediterranean you know flavors into it," said Leticia. "He likes to add his twist to it, so you will find some basic original dishes, but you're also going to try some twists which is what makes it interesting."
The restaurant recently opened its tropical backyard area, since the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on their business when indoor dining was shutdown.
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Now that indoor dining is back, customers are still eager to dine in their outside area and see local musicians play the night away.
Gotay likes to switch up the menu and pay homage to traditional Cuban flavors such as the sweet fruit of guava.
On the menu, guava is featured on savory as well as sweet dishes. One of the desserts that feature guava is his cheesecake. All desserts, as well as the ice cream, are homemade in the kitchen of BabaluNY.
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"I think the one thing regardless of race, color, or gender, or personal relationships everyone at the end of the day has to sit down and enjoy a meal," said Alan. "Every dish you cook, every meal you serve, every guest you greet, and every person you talk to is not so much a representation of who you work for, it's a representation of yourself."
Alan is excited to have more customers come out and try his menu that has something on it for everyone.
He hopes that his combination of flavors and the lively atmosphere of the restaurant will make it feel like your very own tropical escape on Long Island.
Contact Community Journalist Alex Ciccarone