Doers and Dreamers – Isaac and Elena Cruz

It’s getting to sound like an old story, but it’s a great story. After seeing what this area has to offer, many people are deciding to put down roots solidly here by opening their own businesses. Investing their time, money, and reputations in their enterprises, they are all making this community a much more vibrant and upbeat environment to live in. This week’s Doers and Dreamers are adding to that vibrancy as well as the eclectic inventory of eateries that we already have in town. Their charming, uptown restaurant has patrons already raving about it. Please say ‘Hello’ to Isaac and Elena Cruz, who are boldly staking out their territory in the area foodie scene.

Your name: Isaac and Elena Cruz

Business or organization: Diego’s Taqueria , 38 John St., Kingston, NY

Occupation: Owners

What is your approach to your business or occupation that makes you unique?
We dreampt about having our own place for many years, probably since the beginning of our relationship while we were cutting our teeth in the hospitality industry at Mohonk Mountain House (Isaac was a Dining Room Captain, Elena a Conference and Catering Planner), in what we lovingly refer to as “hospitality bootcamp”. We trained to understand the value of providing your guest with a high level of professionalism, and to bring that same concept to a casual setting. What we strive for in our business is to serve the food that we love to eat, using locally sourced and fresh ingredients, and in an environment that we would want to spend time in. We aim for our customers to feel like they are hanging out in an extension of our home, and for them to feel comfortable and welcome. We want it to feel warm, fun, delicious, and of course, for the music to always be great.

Where are you from originally?
Isaac was born in the Bronx, but grew up both in the Bronx and Central NY–after 4 years in the Marine Corps (stationed on Oahu, Hawaii) he moved in New Paltz where he lived for 15 years. Elena grew up on Staten Island, moved up to New Paltz for college where she lived for 10 years. We met and fell in love in New Paltz in 2003.

What brought you to the Kingston area and keeps you in this area?
After getting married in 2008, we began the hunt for a permanent home, and at the time, Kingston was really beginning to (re)make it’s mark on the map. We loved the vibe that was being created, and most importantly, the rich history that Kingston strives to maintain. In 2010 we found a beautiful home in Uptown Kingston that was built in 1901, within walking distance to the Stockade District. From then on we began creating and building relationships with the community and local business owners, hoping to one day be able to contribute our passion to the neighborhood. Kingston has truly become our home, and what keeps us here is the amazing emphasis on the community, particularly Uptown. Events like O+, New Years Eve, the Farmer’s Market (just to name a few) are what makes it pretty much the best place to live. “#movetokingstonnow”.

What is your favorite hangout in this area and why?
While we may be biased due to a long friendship with the owners, Stockade Tavern has been our absolute favorite place since we moved to Kingston (which conveniently opened just a few months before we bought our home). The environment that they have created has not only been a great place to spend time, but also was a great source of inspiration to us in making our dreams a reality.

When you’re not in Kingston, what’s your idea of a wonderful city to visit, and why?
When we travel we are looking for great food and like-minded people. But if we’re being specific, we would love to be back in Honolulu for the perfect mix of everything we love about city living, but with the most perfect weather, sweet smelling air, and gorgeous beaches. (Stay tuned for Diego’s West…)