Maplewood Village to Welcome New Mexican Restaurant

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Locals were sad to hear the news in December that The Laurel, a much-loved restaurant in Maplewood Village, was closing.

Luckily for the town, the cozy, charming space on Maplewood Avenue will not sit vacant for long. Abril Cocina, a Mexican fusion restaurant run by a Maplewood resident and professional chef, will open in April. The eatery will feature a modern spin on traditional Mexican cuisine, said owner and chef Mario Valadez Trevino.

Valadez Trevino moved to the Upper West Side from Mexico four years ago with his wife, Nora. Just six months ago, the couple settled in Maplewood with their two children, Mario, 4, and Isabel, 2.

Formerly Valadez Trevino was an industrial and systems engineer, but he always loved food and cooking. When he came to the United States, he got a degree in Culinary Arts from ICE (the International Culinary Institute) in New York City. He worked as a line cook at two Manhattan restaurants; Green Table at the Chelsea Market and Dizzy’s Club – Jazz at Lincoln Center.

As for the name, “Abril” means April in Spanish, and the word’s Latin roots mean “to open” — a fitting name for a restaurant opening in April.

Valadez Trevino is currently developing dishes for the menu, which he wants to keep under wraps for now. He described it as a Mexican with an American twist. One item he mentioned was tacos — but, he said, “They will not be like tacos here.”

Abril Cocina will be family-friendly, and reasonably priced. Valdez Trevino has commissioned a Maplewood artist to paint a wall mural, and everyone involved with the restaurant is from Maplewood and environs, he said.

“We are excited to welcome a new restaurant to the Village and especially happy it will be owned and operated by a Maplewood resident,” said Julie Doran, manager of the Maplewood Village Alliance.

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