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Baysider introduces area to Latino flavors

After a year of successful business, Jose Cajas, the owner of Decabo bar and lounge in Bayside, said he wanted to do something for the community.

The Latino-themed eatery, at 32-49 Francis Lewis Blvd., will be hosting a fund-raiser Nov. 6 to raise money for diabetes research and Cajas, who has family members that suffer from the disease, said he hopes his store can do its part.

“With the economy these days, a lot of people are doing bad, but I’m doing OK,” the Guatemalan immigrant said. “I want to show my appreciation.”

Cajas said the last 12 months has been a great change for him since he went from an unemployed truck driver to an entrepreneur making profit. The owner said he has been living in Bayside for eight years and that when he came up with the idea of a Latin bar, he was doing it to add something new to the neighborhood.

“I lived around the area, so whenever I came back I wanted to eat some good Spanish food,” he said.

Cajas has always been a fan of Latino cooking, which he said his grandparents taught him, and so he brought his expertise to Decabo. The restaurant serves a variety of dishes from alcapurria, steak with grilled onions and camarones en salsa.

In addition, its bar menu also includes a large selection of drinks, including Decabo’s popular mojito, according to Cajas.

The decor of the single-floor eatery was designed by Cajas’ wife Nina and made to bring Latin America to northeast Queens. Paintings of Caribbean beaches and fans that look like palm tree leaves, along with large, flat-screen TV sets and a sound system, enhance customers’ experience, Cajas said.

“We wanted to give it a Puerto Rican feel, but also a New York feel,” he said.

The owner said he and his staff of five work hard to make sure each customer leaves content and comes back for seconds and thirds. The key, he said, was to keep things simple and be casual.

“Being friendly and having a good product, it means a lot,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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