More hours, more croquetas.
More hours, more croquetas.
Photo by Zachary Fagenson

Enriqueta's Is Serving Dinner for the First Time in More Than 50 Years

Late last month, Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop owner José Plá quietly pushed the closing time of his humble NE 29th Street operation from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Though this change might not mean much to the place's huge breakfast and lunch crowd, it's some of the most interesting news to come to Edgewater since its denizens learned just how much of the area was controlled by one Russian billionaire. It also means the ballooning populations in midtown and Edgewater can now grab an early dinner at Enriqueta's.

"The neighborhood has changed; the clients have changed. I have to give the customers what they want," Plá says.

The short 68-year-old, with tight, stiff gray hair and thick rectangular glasses, bought the place in 2000 (it originally opened in 1964) and runs it with his two daughters. You can often find him at the register directing traffic and chatting with regulars.

"I come here all the way from Homestead whenever I can," says Michael Galan, a 40-year-old private security guard.

Since the first day he owned Enriqueta's, Plá has worked 12 hours a day, five days week. Sunday is a bit lighter, when he's there only from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nevertheless, Plá says he's excited to stay open later and about how Edgewater has changed over the past two decades. "It's all for the better," he says.

Luckily, Plá also owns the land on which Enriqueta's sits, and he says the eatery isn't going anywhere despite all of the construction and property-flipping going on nearby. After all, it was Plá who shepherded the restaurant out of disaster after an electrical fire forced it to close for nearly six months in 2013.

Lesser known is that Plá's place was almost shut down shortly after he purchased the eatery because one of his employees was caught selling beer to a minor. The incident resulted in the loss of Enriqueta's liquor license, but Plá says he's not interested in getting it back.

"It brings the wrong kind of people," he explains. "Also, we get so many businesspeople, lawyers, judges, politicians, and I don't want all those people coming in, drinking, and going back to work."

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