New Management at Moncho’s Ushers in Change at Beloved Colombian Eatery

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If you’ve dined lately at the Brooklyn Centre based eatery Moncho’s, adored for its warm hospitality and satisfying Colombian food, you likely noticed some pretty significant changes. For starters, owners Isabel Montoya and her father Moncho no longer are onsite to greet you. And second, the menu is now filled with a slew of new Mexican dishes.

Two months ago, Montoya and her family made the difficult decision to pull back from running the business for personal matters. They decided to bring in new management to run the restaurant on a day-to-day basis. They went with the owners of the Lakewood-based Mexican restaurant El Torito as they already had a working relationship with as the owners of that building.

“They are people we know and trust,” Montoya explains.

When I spoke to Montoya, she said that all decisions about menu changes would need to go through her and her family. Too much was on the line to let things change too drastically.

“We worked so hard for it and we think it has been successful, but I literally do not have the time to manage it right now,” she notes. “It’s still very much ours, and we’re in constant communication. Everything needs to be approved.”

But she admitted that the El Torito folks have some pretty strong ideas about which way they want to see the menu go – and it isn’t always in line with the old Moncho’s way.

“We have to kind of reel them back in because it’s mostly Colombian customers,” she adds.

When I spoke with Hortencia Figueroa, the new operator of Moncho’s, she too stressed that only slight modifications would be made.

“It’s being kept as Moncho’s – the name, the food, but we have introduced a few more Mexican items to the menu,” she admits. “We kept a lot of the old items that were popular, but we introduced a lot of other items too.”

To outside observers, it appears that more than a few changes have been made. Looking at Moncho’s new menu, which was recently posted to its Facebook page, diners will see a menu that looks to be nearly identical to that of El Torito. Appetizers like the warm chicharron with guacamole and green sauce, breaded and fried chorizo fireballs, and breaded and fried calamari all are straight off the El Torito menu. Tucked among pages of Mexican items like tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas and even chimichangas are only a few remaining Moncho’s dishes like Bandeja Paisa, Cubano sandwiches and tostones.

Also new is lunch service and delivery, says Figueroa.

Ultimately, it’s up to diners to decide if they welcome the changes to Moncho’s or not. But you can be sure that Isabel Montoya and her family will be watching very closely.

“We very much love Moncho’s,” she says.


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