MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Ramiro Jimenez is one of those lucky people who happens to love what he does.
What Jimenez does is bring a new Latin flair, award-winning Mexican/Latino cuisine, and a family atmosphere to Ramiro's 954, one of Mahopac's most popular restaurants.
Jimenez, who was executive chef of La Puerta Azul in Salt Point, New York (a 2010 Best of Hudson Valley pick for Mexican/Latino cuisine) and Noche in Manhattan, smiles when he talks about delivering his recipes to customers.
His Pernil con mojo - or braised pork shank - is the restaurant's most popular item and known far and wide.
"Probably 80 percent of our customers ask for it, and they all say it's fantastic," Jimenez told Daily Voice. "We serve Latin-based dishes with traditional recipes and a modern approach."
Empanadas De Picadillo - turnovers filled with ground beef cooked with onion, garlic, pepper, olives, raisins, red wine and accompanied with sweet chipotle cream sauce in flaky pastry, and Platano Relleno - fried sweet plantain stuffed with smoked chicken cooked with onion, garlic, panca pepper, accompanied with black bean puree, queso fresco and avocado sauce - are just a few of the most popular starters.
Jimenez runs the restaurant with wife Jan. The couple - together 20 years - loves building relationships.
"What I enjoy most is being able to share a part of our culture and be part of the community in so many ways," Ramiro Jimenez said. "We're not just a restaurant, we're family and members of the community... it's more than just a business, we're neighbors."
Jan Jimenez said the neighborhood has welcomed the restaurant - which opened in 2011 and was promptly named 'Best New Restaurant in the Hudson Valley' by Hudson Valley Magazine - with open arms.
"It's been awesome," she said. "People have been so kind and welcoming. And we love that they love the food."
The couple loves that their place is not your typical restaurant. "I think it helps that we're not just another (typical) restaurant," Jan Jimenez said. "We are something different. On weekends people come from Connecticut, Manhattan... we try to make it festive in the restaurant, we try to share the culture with the community.
"And we love that we get to know everyone," she added. "They all get hugs when they come in... it's like family here."
Ramiro's is located at 954 Route 6 in Mahopac.