El Fogon - Cafe RestaurantBy Jose B. Rivera
Philip Colon, a local community activist turned restaurant owner has given our community a wonderfully warm and friendly place in which to eat Puerto Rican food. Mr. Colon had originally established his restaurant in the East 116th Street “La Marqueta” for the past two years. He decided to move his business to 83 East 111th Street on Machito Square. (near the corner of Third Avenue and 111th Street.
El Fogon’s chef is Maria Velez. The restaurant is small in physical size but makes of for it with its intimacy and friendliness. Where else in East Harlem are you likely to bump into legendary residents such as Petra Allende, Assemblyman Nelson Denis, Yolanda Sanchez, Willie Soto and others? At el fogon.
The restaurant opens at 8:00 am and closes near 5:00 P.M. Breakfast can consist eggs, oatmeal, coffee, a pastry, bacon, ham and juice, served with bread or toast. If dinner is your goal, arrive early as the food is good and goes pretty fast.
Dinner can be any of the following: rice, peas, green bananas, pernil (roast pork), pastelles (meat patties, season for Christmas), beef stew, soup, salad, yellow rice, red rice, beans, pork chops, steak, potatoes etc. Most meals cost $5.50.
Mr. Colon will be happy to talk to you about local community activities, politics, and life in general. He is very talkative and friendly. When it’s warm one can chose to eat in a open yard adjacent to El fogon. And unlike a fast food place, there is no rush to leave, as you are not timed. Once you get your meal, take your time eating. When done eating, stay and talk away.
El Fogon was recently featured on the New York Daily News’ City Life section. Writer Lenore Skenazy was very impressed with El Fogon’s food, decor and price.
This publication highly recommends El fogon as a place to visit, eat, and talk. Mention East Harlem Online and….. well you get to mention East Harlem Online. But seriously tell Philip that Jose sent ya. Who knows, he may direct you to the table at which I’ll be sitting, happily enjoying my meal.
Editor’s Note: April 13, 2001 - Since the original publishing of this article, El Fogon has closed for business. We will keep this page up as a reminder of the good work which Mr. Colon has accomplished in East Harlem and of course of his wonderful and friendly eatery.