Scores of Big Apple eateries are evaporating amid the coronavirus crisis. So each week, Help Our Neighborhood Restaurants will highlight top neighborhood spots fighting to stay afloat while adhering to strict safety standards: the HONoR Roll. Thanks to Kyrie Irving and Beyond Meat, a New Yorker in need will get a plant-based burger whenever you order.
“We used to be very busy, but because of the virus our business is down 50%,” says Abigail Rivera, whose mother, Adela Fargas, opened Casa Adela in 1976. The Puerto Rican restaurant, located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, serves some of the best roast pork, mofongo and baked chicken in New York. And don’t forget the crispy chicken bites: “People love the chicharron de pollo,” Rivera adds.
More than 40 years after its founding, Casa Adela still feels like a family-owned operation—because it is. “We started as a small business. We’re still small,” Rivera says. The family is working hard to preserve the memory of Fargas, who died in 2018 at age 81.
Casa Adela has earned some time on the small screen. Hamilton star Anthony Ramos and rapper Fat Joe dropped by to film an episode of She’s Gotta Have It for Netflix, which aired last year. “We’re at, in my opinion, the best Puerto Rican restaurant in New York City,” the rapper said. Celebrities like Rosario Dawson have also made the pilgrimage.
But it’s Alphabet City regulars who keep Casa Adela around—and now Rivera must try to make due on takeout.
Address: 66 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009
Suggested dishes: Mofongo, chicarron de pollo, cubano, flan.
Price range: $15 per person or less.
Phone number: (212) 473-1882