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El Coqui

UPDATE: I am beyond excited on finding out that a new Puerto Rican restaurant
is in the works at 400 Mendocino Avenue in downtown Santa Rosa. You may
remember that the spot recently housed an ill-fated bakery/ice cream
shop.
So here are the details: I stopped by at lunch today to find a whirlwind of activity — mostly all kinds of restaurant equipment being unloaded. Tina Jackson and her business partner Jacqueline Roman are hoping to have the restaurant up and running by May. The vibe will be casual sit-down Puerto Rican dining with a bar (good luck on the that license ladies!).
They’ve named the restaurant El Coqui, in honor of the island nation’s mascot, a small treefrog.
Jacqueline, who’ll be running the food-side of the business, is a native of Queens, NY and comes from a long line of Puerto Rican cooks — which lends some serious cred to the venture.
Menu details are still in the works, but the gals tell BiteClub that they’re planning on featuring lots of plantains, steak, beans, rice and all the yummy Puerto Rican goodness I’ve missed so much since leaving the Big Apple.

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73 thoughts on “El Coqui

  1. The food is really good there but I and several friends have stopped going because the service is so lousy. Both Jackie and Christina are great, but are losing clientele because of one or two servers.

  2. First Puerto Rican food I had was on Monday at Sol in San Rafeal, 2nd was on Friday at EL COQUI in SR where I live!! I’m so excited to have discovered Puerto Rican food! And can’t be happier that we have a FANTASTIC place right here in Santa Rosa! Great, happy and delightful staff! I had the Pollo Horno,and it’s true, the chicken just fell apart, and was very tasteful! We enjoyed every minute of being there! It was two of us, we were seated right away on a Friday night, we sat at the bar, which was nice to inter act with the staff! I loved it! Thankyou! You will be seeing alot more of us!

  3. Thanks for making this known, sounds yummy. I’ve lived in Florence for ten years now and I love reading about anything related to my new place of residence. I discover something different about the area every day.

  4. Have been looking forward to trying Puerto Rican food for quite some time and El Coqui did not disappoint. The staff was friendly, the owners were very hands on and hospitable making us feel like we were guests in their home. While the wait was bit long for our food to come, they brought out complimentary Tostones, delicious! Once our food arrived the plantains were missing from my wife’s dinner so they immediately brought out a plate full. We ordered Flan for dessert, while a small portion it was fantastic. We inquired about the other desserts on the menu and before we knew it they brought us samples. As long as you go there with patience and a smile, knowing that they are brand new and still trying to workout the kinks you will definitely leave with a full and satisfied belly.

  5. We tried lunch at El Coqui. The lunch took an extremely long time, which I suppose can be expected at a newly opened restaurant. The decor inside is very nice, however, the food and the service left a lot to be desired. I will give it a few weeks for the staff and food to get up to speed. I hope that it will be as delicious and fun as Sol Food (San Rafael).

  6. Have been looking forward to the opening for weeks. Stopped by for lunch and it took a VERY long time, which I suppose is to be expected at a newly opened restaurant. The decor was nicely done, however the food and the service left something to be desired. We’ll try it again once the kitchen and staff is up to speed for a full restuarant. Hopefully it will be as delicious and successful as Sol Food (San Rafael) in no time!

  7. My family and I went to dine at El Coqui on Friday and we were extremely disappointed. We waited over an hour to be seated. Once seated, the wait staff forgot we were even there. My husband walked over to the bar to order our drinks to bring back to our table. We waited another 20 minutes before we were noticed, placed our order and waited another hour before we were served. The staff cleary looked frantic and did not know what they were doing. We were served several appetizers in hopes of keeping us happy. When our food arrived, it was cold. Needless to say, we will not be going back. If you have 3 hours to spare, then it is the right restaurant for you!

  8. We have already enjoyed eating a couple of times at your restaurant. The food is absolutely amazing! The atmosphere is both warm and inviting.The staff are extremely friendly. We will be back to dine again often!!!

  9. We have already enjoyed eating a couple of times at your restaurant. The food is absolutely amazing! The atmosphere is both warm and inviting.The staff are extremely friendly. We will be back to dine again often!!!

  10. We have already enjoyed eating a couple of times at your restaurant. The food is absolutely amazing! The atmosphere is both warm and inviting.The staff are extremely friendly. We will be back to dine again often!!!

  11. I stopped by for lunch on Saturday and was greeted by a warm welcome from the staff. Tina, one of the owners, took time to say “hello”, and thanked me for coming.
    The Sandwich Cubano was fantastic- flavorful pork with swiss cheese, mustard, pickle on a delicious roll in the “Pan Cubano” style. The side of green plantains was perfect- crispy, but not greasy. The salad with house dressing, avocado, sliced onion and lettuce was refreshing, and the flan for dessert, smooth and tasty. The prices are affordable and the dining experience unique.
    I will definitely return for lunch, and intend to stop by for dinner. The decor gives you a feel of the Islands, the staff friendly, and welcoming, and the food “excellente”! Bravo to the owners and staff. Viva El Coqui!!!

  12. Jackie and Tina
    The food was fantastic, yellow rice, black beans, pork chopss, tostones and avocado salad. My family and I were very impressed not only by the awesome flavors but by your welcoming personalities. We are planning to be frequent customers.
    Also, calabaza in October!
    The best to you and your venture.
    Marta

  13. We Wanted to say thank you to all of you again for your support and the warm welcome you have given us! We snuck the doors open last week for friends and family and we overwhelmed by the greeting from all of our new friends and family. Jeannette it was nice to meet you and your family….please everyone else introduce yourself as you visit for lunch or dinner.
    Jackie n Tina

  14. Well, it is finally opened and I can say the the food is the bomb!!! Already ate their twice (there goes my waistline). Jackie & Tina are very personable. A little bit of a wait but worth it… The decor is very inviting and I truly hope it is the “hangout” for mi gente. An authentic taste of Puerto Rico in Santa Rosa (who would of thunk it). Jackie & Tina have done us proud!!!!

  15. Just got word of this. It’s great!!!!! I’m from Carolina, my Dad was from Juana Diaz, criado en la Playa de Ponce. My brother now lives in Cabo Rojo. Can’t wait for the opening. Didn’t know there were so may of us (puertoricans) living in this area! Where can I meet you and join the parranda?
    Best of luck and I’ll stop by Mendo Ave to wish you luck and check for opening date.
    PD. Bacalaitos y alcapurrias!!! Para chuparse los dedos.

  16. Husband went to Sol Food today, ordered pasteles but didn’t buy because they’re frozen, NOT fresh….I know they are labor intensive…El Coqui, please open soon! For those of you that can’t wait, check out ricanrecipes.com

  17. Just back from Seattle from a 2 week business trip. There is a great puertorrican restaurant called La Isla. It has alcapurrias, arroz con gandules, bistec encebollado, etc. It has proven to be so popular that they are expanding next door. The owners are 2 young puertorricans. Will still have to go to SOL in San Rafael since I do not see myself driving 50 miles north to Santa Rosa just for lunch.

  18. Vince and I peeked into the window and checked out the menu yesterday during the farmer’s market. Looks like a lot to look forward to indeed! Seeing the pilรณn and the little coqui statue in the window almost made me cry. So happy and so excited. Looking forward to meeting this hidden PR community we have here! Open, open, open! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. We will be having a lot of daily specials including the Pasteles and more. Somethings are a little more challenging to have prepared plus we want to have something for you to look forward too.

  20. I just took a look at the menu posted and didn’t see Pasteles or Gundule Rice listed at all – anyone know if they are thinking of having that stuff in the future? Or Pastele Pork with gandule Rice. ๐Ÿ™ Can’t wait till it opens my husband (puerto rican but from HI) is looking forward to it.

  21. Thanks T…..we too have been pleasantly surpised at how many Puerto Rican have been coming out of the woodworks!! Many have come by to knock on the door and wish us luck or even bring us a sample of their own favorite dish. Saturday we were there working late and almost felt like we were having an open house with the people who stopped to wish us luck!!
    We hope to see you soon!!

  22. Saludos my friends. Like all the other commentators i cannot wait for your restaurant to finally open up. From the comments i have read not only will you be serving great food from the island of enchantment but i wonder if you folks really knw what this means to the ‘hidden’ Puerto Rican community of Santa Rosa?… As we all know how much puerto ricans loooove 2 hang out in the kitchen? lol.
    I too salute you n dedicate my loyalty not only as a customer but with eager anticipation to the many new friends i look forward to meeting in your new establishment.
    Buena Suerte,
    tomas luis enrique rodriguez de rivera #lol#…most my friends just call me Big T!!!!

  23. I so can not wait for you guys too open… My mom who is PR has always cooked PR dishes when I was growing up. But now that she lives in Az I only get my fix once a year.. My mom is coming out to visit soon and I hope that you guys are open.. I told her about your rest. and she is jazzed and looking forward to coming out.. I feel like the lady in the Mervyn’s commercials “OPEN, OPEN, OPEN”.. Good luck and I hope to dine soon…

  24. Buena suerte. I used to live in Santa Rosa but now we live in Sausalito, so Santa Rosa now is a tad too far away to drive just for food but now I have Sol only a 15 minute drive away in San Rafael and now there is a new Cuban place called Paladar Cubano in the Financial distric. You can recao in Vietnamese markets…

  25. My husband Kent and I drove by El Coqui yesterday and met Tina and Jaquie. You two are very nice and friendly and I wish you lots of luck! I’m Boricua and very much want a PR rest in the area since I’m not a good cook. We just returned from the island about a week ago and already missed rice, beans and tostones. How about surullitos de maiz? Please keep us posted with the opening, can’t wait to meet boricuas in the area.

  26. I just want to let everyone know how much your excitement and positve comments have inspired us. I love that people are still taking the time to find the blog and add to it. The delays on a project like this get frustrating and frankly SCARY..so knowing that you are all Rooting for us gives us a sense of relief…that all this work will be for something special!!! We almost have the menu printed to add to the website. The cosmetic work is coming together beautifully…if I do say so…and we finally have the building permit so we can get that darn hood put in the Kitchen. We have met or spoke to a few of you in person and look forward to meeting the rest of you SOON. All good things come to those who wait….and nothing good comes easy.!!

  27. This is amazing news!! I can’t wait to go here. I used to live on the island (7 years) and when we came here we missed the food so much! So like many others here I too go over to San Rafael to eat PR food! We have a hard time trying to cook it at home because we can’t find the ingrediants, except we just found out where we can get Recao! I check this site every day and try to drive by the future resturant daily, I want to be one if the first customers when it opens! Along with all of my family!

  28. Promise that I’ll let everyone know. THey’ve got a sign up on the building as well as all of these comments posted on the DOOR! Very nice. Stay tuned.

  29. Hola El Coqui
    Is there a scheduled opening date?
    How will you let us know the opening date?
    Thanks and Buena Suerte!

  30. We have learned a lot about the process. A lot of Hurry up and wait!! Health plans are approved building plans go in Tuesday. THen we wait some more!! I would love to be open by your birthday….we have to WAIT and see. I noticed the blog is harder to find so keep your eye on the website mentioned in the article above. I promised Heather at the PD she would be the first to know!! We are getting closer to having the menu loaded. We are keeping it small to start so we can “grow into it”. Then we will do a lot for special items. btw…Happy Birthday!!

  31. My BD is coming up next month the 21st. No pressure (lol), but, sure would be good to have some Mofongo. Wis I had known about the fund raiser would have brought a whole slew of PR’s who love to eat!!!

  32. You Got it!! We did a special guest night with our freind Alice in Sebastopol. “a night in Puerto Rico” as a fund raiser for Breast Cancer. I am glad you enjoyed your meal. Thank you for the compliment.
    Hope to see you Soon!!
    El Coqui

  33. OMG if this is the cook.
    That cook in Alices restaurant I will be here.
    Her pork chops and rice are the best. those fried bannas made me want to take a trip to Puerto Rico.
    Please let me know if you are the one that cooked at ALICES RESTAURANT.

  34. Gladys
    You can find Goya products at Lolas on Petaluma Hill Rd. They also have bacalao (very expenseive but good).
    Good luck with your PR cooking.

  35. Yes most def!, El Coqui llamame cuando gustes. I am off Sundays and most Monday’s so we can meet, greet and eat. I live 10 mins away from Mendocino Ave in SR. Been here since 1991. Love it! I’ll wait for your call hopefully others will too. This is for Gladys Marrero, gandules are in the most Mexican markets, try Lola’s, G&G had them and so did Lucky’s. I also go to Fairfield to visit, large Puertoriquen community there, due to Travis airforce base.

  36. Hola, I’ve been here in Santa Rosa for a year now and found out I had to go to San Rafael to eat PR food, I also tried finding the Goya products that I use to cook my PR food and they are so hard to locate. I have to send for them in NY or Denver. I too look forward to the opening. Mi familia es de Santurce, Rio Piedres, Farjado, Carolina, Bayamone, Ponce, Humaco, all over la isla. Yo soy newyarican, de Brooklyn. Look forward to meeting soon to be new friends and family.

  37. Hola, I’ve been here in Santa Rosa for a year now and found out I had to go to San Rafael to eat PR food, I also tried finding the Goya products that I use to cook my PR food and they are so hard to locate. I have to send for them in NY or Denver. I too look forward to the opening. Mi familia es de Santurce, Rio Piedres, Farjado, Carolina, Bayamone, Ponce, Humaco, all over la isla. Yo soy newyarican, de Brooklyn. Look forward to meeting soon to be new friends and family.

  38. Waiting for the heath dept and planning dept to approve. I hope soon we have alot family and friends flying in to San fransico from New York and Florida and Puerto Rico with lots of pelon…
    We will have lots of Coqui’s in town LOL…
    Thank you
    EL COQUI

  39. Yes let’s get together I’m ready to cook so let me know when is the best time for you. Where are you located. I drive where ever you are. I cook everyting Puerto Rican I have my grandma’s recipe… The best. I bring my own sofritio home made…
    I will call you Monica.
    Thank you
    EL COQUI

  40. Ok folks, sounds like your mouth is deseando comida boricua. If any of you visit this website again and want to just have a cooking party/feast let me know. Mi casa es su casa. We can cook up a storm, pernil, arroz con gandules, tostones, guineitos fritos, bistec con cebolla, mofongo etc. Let’s do it, why wait for the restaurant to open. We all can bring something and just cook it together. Let me know we’ll set up a date that works for everyone. Contact me 707-495-6360

  41. Actually Billy, those were fried plantains known as tostones, and even though they seem similar, there is actually a big difference between the two. If you were to fry bananas your self, then go to a Puerto Rican restauraunt and eat what you referred to as fried bananas, you would notice that big difference.

  42. So excited about this! Ever since leaving boston I’ve missed my fried bananas and many other good puerto rican dishes! i can’t wait

  43. Hello
    My wife is from PR and I am cuban. We live in Sausalito but I work in Santa Rosa so I will be going for lunch at El Coqui every once in a while. We love Sol Food since the food is cooked the Marin way; sustainable, local and organic. Their garlic chicken and bistec encebollado are second to none. Hope that El Coqui cooks organic, local and sustainable while staying true to their PR roots.
    Buen provecho and buen suerte

  44. I cant wait for it to open, growing up
    in NY, you’ll able to find everything from
    P.R. but not here in Cali. I can taste the
    Maltas already, and those pasteles…oh boy!!
    E.

  45. Un restaurant puertorriqueno en Santa Rosa!
    Que dicha, cuando quiera comer antojitos borinquenos se a donde ir.
    Soy puertorriquena,llevo 58 anos fuera de la isla, Pero mi corazon se quedo frente al mar en mi Aguadilla querida
    Por favor dejennos saber cuando es la inaguracion, alli estaremos.
    Les deceo exito!

  46. Well, well, I’m excited. When your 17 yr old forwards you this site and she says she is excited, that really means alot. Getting the juventud excited is special to our roots. My kids and I will definitely be there. I’ve been in Santa Rosa since 1991 and love it! I’m always bumping into a Boriqua. Hopefully, you will allow us to “hangiar” and make this our barrio too. Sundays nights at the Flamingo hotel for Salsa classes and at El Coqui before we go dancing. I’m from Levittown and born and raise in Puerto Rico. Need any help getting the word out, let me know. So far you have Ponce, Arecibo, Vega Baja, Ceiba, Levittown saying “PRESENTE” You will be a success!
    Hecha Palante!!

  47. May the curse of Mendocino avoid your lovely new restaurant. You can do it!! I will be there to support you within the first opening week. Cheers.

  48. I was stationed a Roosevelt Roads PR Near Ceiba, and All I remember besides the Beutiful Women, the food is great and spicy. I will be looking forward to the opening of this place.

  49. Hi again to everyone!! I am checking in on this blog at least twice a day to read all of your comments and well wishes. We have put a lot of your feed back into place already. All of your positive energy has been very inspiring!! Hope to see you all soon!

  50. Very happy that I hopefully don’t have to travel to San Rafael any more for a fix. Hoping the group of Puerto Rican ladies (there’s another Myrna is this town who’s PR?) will be there for the opening. I would love to meet them!

  51. OMG The best. I can wait this place is going to be the best in somoma county this food is going to be the bomb. OMG I don’t have to drive to San Rafel.. I will be saving gas I live in Petaluma and I just ca’nt wait PLease let me know for the opening… I love that name EL COQUI I have been to Puerto Rico and Believe me I miss those little frogs…
    Good Luck I’ll be your number #1 customer…

  52. I belong to the Puertorrican group of ladies.
    So, we are looking forward for the opening of El Coqui. Besides your delicious dishes please don’t forget cafe con leche, estilo Boricua.

  53. I am Irish and am very excited about this restaurant. My husband is also from Ponce, we’ve been to PR several times and our kids love it. We have heard the Coqui!

  54. I am Puerto Rican, live in Windsor and would love to join the group. I am from Vega Baja and miss the tostones and arroz con jueyes. Sometimes I cook Puerto Rican food for my co-workers and they love it!!! They have tried guineitos en escabeche, rice and beans, fricasse de pollo, etc. I want to be there for the opening!!

  55. My husband is from Puerto Rico & we have been driving to San Rafael for the past 4 years to get our Puerto Rican fix at Sol food. We are elated that we will finally have a Puerto Rican restaurant here locally.

  56. Ecstatic! My husband is from Puerto Rico & we have been driving to San Rafael for the past 4 years to San Rafael to eat Puerto Rican food. We are looking very forward to the opening of El Coqui & you can be sure that we will be there all the time!

  57. ….and While Sol Food is great, I hope the tostones at El Coqui are a little tastier….bring on the flan y arroz con coco. I miss my abuelita dearly, born in Arecibo. I want to join the PR women’s group, I know they can cook too!

  58. I hope they will serve pernil and arroz con gandules con aguacate. My husband is looking forward to pasteles and bianda…and bacalao frito…amarillos too! It’s about time we get some good food in this area!

  59. Soy boricua de corazon!!!! I belong to a group of women’s group who happen to be PRican and we meet once a month for down home PR food (that is the only way you can get it here ) but, now I can get my fix in Santa Rosa. Go figure!!! BTW, can you accommodate a group? Mofongo, here I come…

  60. Hey Vince Jackie is from Queens and her family is from Ponce. Her Father lives there now with several aunts and cousins. She would love to meet your wife so bring her in.

  61. I am excited! Unfortunately, I am a consultant who is in the area for a few months. Can we get someone to open one up in the Morgan Hill, Gilroy, San Jose area???? PLEASE ๐Ÿ™‚
    Good eats to all ๐Ÿ™‚

  62. OMGoodness! Bring on the Tostones! It’s about time someone adds Boricua to the Santa Rosa mix. I’m hungry already.

  63. I am so excited as well! My husband is Puerto Rican (native of Hawaii) and we miss the Pasteles and gandule rice we eat when we are there.
    I hope El Coqui is serving those up! We will be there for sure!

  64. so excited. Just had Sol food yesterday and was commenting on my great wish to have more diverse and exciting food in Santa Rosa. Hopefully it won’t be overly expensive, which is what seems to happen to anything new that comes to town.

  65. I am elated! We just moved here from Phoenix. Perfect timing! Welcome El Coqui. Saludos y mucha suerte con este proyecto. Please let us know when the grand opening is scheduled for. We’ll be there with lots of barullo. A gozar todos! And please, include lots of vegetarian dishes.

  66. What Vince said! SO excited!
    My mom is also a Nuyorican who grew up in Queens (Astoria) and was born in Ponce. This is the food I grew up on.
    I like Sol Food, and I make a mean pot of beans, but there are so many dishes I never bother to make and only get to eat after a drive south to Marin or a trip back to visit family.
    I went back a couple of years ago for the parade, which is obviously an absolute PR food fest. Mmmm.
    YAY!

  67. My wife is super excited about this. She’s Puerto Rican and has been going to the next closest PR joint, Sol Food, in San Rafael, for the last few years(they have amazing pique(hot sauce) by the way!) I hope it’s good, I’ve got a craving for tostones right now.

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