HEMPSTEAD, New York (WABC) -- When Hector Henriquez pictured the "American Dream," he always imagined he would be living it out on a baseball field, pitching for one of the Major League teams. In the Dominican Republic, baseball is the main sport that every kid plays growing up, hoping to become as good as Alex Rodriguez. Henriquez played every day, practicing his pitches and keeping his hopes up for his dream to come true.
Henriquez, unfortunately, developed an injury in his arm and had to pursue his second passion, cooking. Henriquez and his wife, Martha Caro, opened "El Mofongo" in Hempstead in 2017. They knew they wanted to bring to the community authentic Dominican-style food and baked goods. One of the most popular dishes is mofongo.
"In Long Island, we went to various places and nobody did a good mofongo, to be honest with you," Caro said. "I said, "you know what your mofongo is so good, is so moist.'"
Mofongo is made from fried green plantains that are mashed together with additional ingredients including garlic, cheese, and a protein of choice. Henriquez wanted to honor his love of baseball and cooking by naming various mofongos on his menu after Hispanic baseball players. One of his most popular mofongos is named after the former first baseman for the Red Sox, David Ortiz, better know as "Big Papi."
Hector and Martha had to close their restaurant for at least three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, but once they reopened they had a line wrapping around the block from their loyal customers returning for the great food.
"We don't have much Dominican food here and he's so great at what he does," Caro said. "I said it's good to bring the culture in this town especially in Hempstead."
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Long Island Dominican Restaurant creates mofongo dishes in honor of Hispanic baseball players