A waterfront location on City Island that’s been home to some great restaurants over the years has a new tenant.
VISTAMAR, run by the family that already has made a success of the Caridad & Louie’s restaurants, recently opened a Latin-themed eatery at the site of longtime restaurant successes like Anna’s Harbor and The Lighthouse.
Most recently, the restaurant that is situated at 565 City Island Avenue and has panoramic views of Eastchester Bay, was Don Coqui on the Water.
VISTAMAR will specialize in dishes like churrasco, pernil, seafood paella and many other sea fare dishes, in keeping with the nautical views, said Justine Barreiro, part of the ownership team.
Barreiro said that VISTAMAR, which includes two event rooms, a main dining area, lounge and VISTAMAR Express for take out, promises to offer “amazing Latin food with lots of seafood influence.”
“Food is the foundation of any restaurant,” she said. “For us, it is very important that you are able to taste amazing food.”
The menu also offers other steak, meat, chicken and pasta dishes, and the chef is accommodating.
Barreiro’s mother Mercedes Guzman, emigrated from the Dominican Republic when she was 21-years-old, and owned her first restaurant called Silvia’s at East 167th Street and Morris Avenue in Melrose in 1995.
Guzman met her husband Renato Rios while working in the business, and the pair eventually opened more restaurants, including Caridad & Louie’s in Pelham Gardens in 2008, along with two other locations in Yonkers and New Rochelle.
“Our other restaurants are very different from VISTAMAR and we saw this as a great opportunity to expand what we currently own and what we currently know,” said Barreiro.
One of the keys to the kind of experience patrons can expect at VISTAMAR is the personal touch that comes with a family run establishment.
“Everything is family owned, and there is always someone from our family at the restaurants,” said Barreiro. “We are very hands on.”
The VISTAMAR family would like the customers to feel at home the minute they walk in the door.
“For us the customer is always right, so we are going to bend over backwards to make sure they have a great experience here,” she said.
Her family was drawn to the location’s gorgeous water view, which Barreiro said that she personally enjoyed since they took over the establishment shortly after the start of the new year.
The views are particularly breathtaking at sunset, said Barreiro, adding that she quit her job in the corporate world to help make VISTAMAR a success and believes that her family’s experience as restaurateurs will be important in that success.
She believes that the 12,000 square foot establishment, accommodating 400 patrons, is the perfect place for a date, dining alone or family events.
VISTAMAR is committed to working with the City Island community to be good neighbors, she said.
The restaurant plans to use UberEats delivery service, stated Barreiro.