Business & Finance

Award-Winning Restaurant Opens Kids’ Dining Loft

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Jan Jimenez watching the kids at her new dining loft above Ramiro's Restaurant. Credits: Skip Pearlman
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Nicole and Mike Stern of Mahopac are all smiles after dropping their kids at Jan’s Dining Loft before settling in downstairs for a quiet dinner for two at Ramiro’s 954. Credits: Skip Pearlman
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MAHOPAC, N.Y. - One of Mahopac’s best restaurants just got a little better.

Ramiro’s 954, Putnam’s go-to spot for Latin infused cuisine, is all about the details, and owners Jan and Ramiro Jimenez just added a new wrinkle that has parents of young children smiling.

Jan Jimenez recently announced the opening of “Jan’s Kidz Dining Loft” upstairs at Ramiro’s with the idea being that couples with kids can skip the worrying about finding—and paying for—a sitter.

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Jimenez runs three daycare centers (Mahopac, Yonkers and Rye Brook), so the idea came naturally. 

“We have the daycare centers and the restaurant, so I thought why not combine the two,” Jimenez said. “We’re so excited to be able to offer this service to our customers, and everyone seems to love the idea,” Jimenez added. “Parents can just come in with the kids and still be able to have a romantic dinner, a quiet dinner. And the best part is the kids have a great time. We have all kinds of stuff up there, from young children’s toys to arts and crafts, computers, air hockey and mini-pool.”

New York State approved caregivers supervise children and they get their own dinner at the dining loft. A recent visit found anywhere from eight to 12 kids of various ages enjoying the loft–and a dinner of chicken nuggets and fries—during a typical dinner hour, while their (smiling) parents ate downstairs.

“We think it’s great, it’s thinking outside the box,” said Mahopac resident Mike Stern, who enjoyed a quiet dinner with his wife, Nicole, while their two boys played with other kids and had dinner upstairs in the loft. “It’s a good way for families to get together, and you don’t worry about getting a babysitter. I think it’s great – a home run. Jan hit it on the head with this one. 

“The kids had a great time upstairs, playing air hockey and pool,” Stern added. “For them to able to relax and have a good time, and eat – that definitely takes the pressure off us. And we’re able to eat downstairs and have a good time. We still get to go out and have date night, even with kids in tow. That’s thinking outside the box.”

The Kids Dining Loft is just the latest improvement at Ramiro’s 954. 

The eatery was named “Best New Restaurant” in 2011 by Hudson Valley Magazine, earned a “Don’t Miss” rating from The New York Times, and won awards for “Best Restaurateur” and “Most Customer Friendly Company” at the recent Putnam County Chamber of Commerce Trailblazers Awards.

“We take a lot of pride in our restaurant and our menu, mixing things up and keeping everything top-shelf,” Jimenez said. “We treat our customers like family here, we have so many regulars, and you develop relationships with people. We love being a part of this community.”

Ramiro’s menu mixes traditional recipes, flavors and textures with a creative-modern approach, incorporating seasonal ingredients. Chef Jimenez reinterprets Latin cooking, complemented by signature drinks, with his creations evoking the flavors of South and Central America, Caribbean, Mexico and Spain, according to their website.

Ramiro Jimenez, who was executive chef of La Puerta Azul in Salt Point, NY (a 2010 Best of Hudson Valley pick for Mexican/Latino cuisine) and Noche in Manhattan, said he feels lucky to love what he does. 

“I really enjoy being able to be a part of the community, and to be able to share a part of our culture,” he said. “We’ve gotten to know so many people in the community, we feel like we’re more than just a restaurant, we feel like neighbors.”

The restaurant’s signature dish is Pernil con mojo, or braised pork shank, and Ramiro’s is known for having the best around. “They all say it’s fantastic, and many of our customers ask for it,” the chef said. 

The restaurant also features a selection of top-quality steaks, including filet, strip steak, skirt steak, rib eye and porterhouse, as well as seafood – on the menu.
But it’s not just the food that keeps people coming back, according to Jan Jimenez. It’s the family feel.

“What we love is that we’re not just another typical restaurant,” she said. “We have a unique menu, and everyone is like family here – everyone gets hugs when they come through the door, and now we can even care for your kids while you have a quiet dinner.

“It’s just so awesome to be a part of this great, big family,” Jimenez added. “Our employees, our customers… the community. We really enjoy the community. And it’s really an honor for me to have both of my passions (the daycares and the restaurant) combined.”

Ramiro’s 954 is located at 954 Route 6 in Mahopac. For information about reserving space in the dining loft, call the restaurant at 845-621-3333, or check out their website at Ramiros954.com.

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