by Tina McGrath, Photography by Michael Becker
Tucked away down a picturesque alleyway on Church Street in Lambertville is one of the twin river town’s newest restaurants- Aztlan Mexican Restaurant by Edgar Castro.
Seventeen years ago, Castro moved to the United States from Estado de Mexico, ultimately settling in Lambertville ten years ago. He began working in kitchens, which landed him the job as the head chef at Tortuga’s Cocina, the previous tenant of his current restaurant in Lambertville.
“When I chose a name for my restaurant, I wanted to reflect my Mexican heritage and the authentic mexican food that I ate while growing up in Mexico,” explains Castro.
Aztlán is the legendary ancestral home of the Aztec peoples. Historians have speculated about the possible location of Aztlan and tend to place it either in northwestern Mexico or the southwest US, although there are significant doubts about whether the place is purely mythical or represents a historical reality.
Lambertville, the only city in Hunterdon County, is home to a dozens of restaurants with cuisines that span the globe – Middle Eastern, French, Peruvian, Thai, Japanese to name a few. Outstanding, authentic food is a must. Part of what motivated Castro to open his own restaurant is the drive to introduce authentic Mexican food to Lambertville.
“My favorites moments are when customers tell me that the food is just like what they had when they where in Mexico.”
His personal favorite dish is the “tacos al pastor.” Aztlan is also one of the few spots in town that offers full bar services, courtesy of Mitchell’s, the bar that is directly connected the restaurant.
The warm and welcoming spirit of the river towns attracted Castro. When a new couple stops in to try the restaurant, his goal is always to have them return to share their new culinary find with a big group of friends. And the plan is working. A recent patron shared,
“Great Food, Excellent service. We have been there twice since they opened and everything
is delicious. Homemade Flan to die for. Previously Tortugas Cocnia now renamed and under the ownership of Tortugas chef. Many of the same friendly service oriented staff. Tortuga’s was our favorite Mexican restaurant and Atzlan is a worthy replacemen t.”
In the coming months and years, Aztlan will continue to roll out new menu items and improvements. And just in time for the holiday season, gift certificates are now available.
Visit them at 11 1/2 Church Street in Lambertville, New Jersey or order take out at (609) 397-7272. Visit Aztlan Mexican on Facebook for all of the latest.