Maz Mezcale owners in love with the restaurant and each other
New York restaurateurs Mary and Eduardo Silva met four decades ago when his car broke down on a dusty road in Indiana outside of the air force base where he was stationed. She bought him gas, and the two stayed in touch even after he was shipped off to Vietnam. They married soon after he returned, and have been partners ever since.
â€œIt"s miraculous, Mary Silva said. â€œAnd we still like each other.
Mary, 58, who is of German, French and Irish ancestry, didn"t know anything about the restaurant business when the couple married. â€œI just got lucky and married into it, she said.
For Eduardo, 60, the restaurant business runs in the family. His grandmother owned a restaurant that served light fare in Mazatlan, Mexico, in the "50s and "60s. His father began working as a fruit picker, but moved into the restaurant business. He was dropped off in New York after basic training, when peace broke out, and liked the city so much he returned to the area to establish a string of Upper East Side eateries. Now the couple"s 14-year-old daughter Gabrielle helps out in the restaurant as a hostess and takes delivery orders. Asked if she will follow in the family business, she says she can"t imagine working anywhere else.
Even in his time off, her father can be found cooking up world cuisine in their home across the street.
â€œIt"s so natural to me, he said, describing his calling. â€œI sometimes feel more at home being in a restaurant than at home.
Maz Mezcal has been at its current East 86th Street location since 1987, but some customers have been coming for 40 years. They order flautas, tamales, tacos, enchiladas and mole poblano, as well as fish and shrimp dishes native to Mazatlan.
â€œI try to make sure they are true to the form of my father"s recipes, Eduardo said. Constancy, he says, is tricky to achieve in the restaurant business.
The Silvas vacation in Mexico, and say they also enjoy the tranquility of the New Mexico desert. During these vacations, Eduardo has picked out the sketches and paintings that line Maz Mezcal"s brightly colored walls. The most recent acquisitions are a row of â€œKatrinas 's elegantly dressed female figurines of skeletons popularized in Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
In addition to her work at the restaurant, Mary is active with the East 86th Street Task Force, where she focuses on homelessness, community beautification and improving street safety. She is what her husband calls a â€œrepresentative of conscience of what should be fair to people in our community.
He has a slight Texas twang and the expansive air of a cattle rancher, yet he appears comfortable with his life in the metropolis.
â€œFor us, this is our world, he explained. â€œThe people who come here, for those two hours they don"t believe they are in New York. They are in Mexico. I"m in New York, but I really don"t feel like a New Yorker.
â€œHe"s made it into his own world, his wife added, smiling. â€œTo which we invite the neighborhood.
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