The Inkan draws diverse crowd in Garden City Park

The Inkan draws diverse crowd in Garden City Park

Jorge and Wendy Loaiza’s family hails from Ecuador, but has made a name with food from Peru, the country’s neighbor to the south.

Wendy’s mother, Mercedes Altamirano, partnered with a Peruvian chef to open their Golden Chicken restaurant in Jamaica, Queens, she said. 

Jorge, Wendy and her three siblings, David, Nicole and Johanna, followed suit four years ago with The Inkan in Long Island City.

About a month ago they opened The Inkan’s Long Island outpost at 2224 Jericho Turnpike in Garden City Park, which has drawn a diverse local clientele, Jorge Loaiza said.

“Peruvian food is well known by everybody,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, Chinese, Asian, whatever.”

The Loaizas were encouraged to expand by customers who came from Long Island to The Inkan’s original Queens location, Wendy said.

They scouted a few Long Island locations and looked in Woodside, Queens, before settling on Garden City Park, she said.

“It just felt like home,” said Wendy, who lives in Flushing, Queens. “We love it around there. Everybody wants to move there now.”

The Inkan is Garden City Park’s first Peruvian restaurant, but it’s located about two blocks from Merengue Dominican Kitchen at 2164 Jericho Turnpike.

Garden City Park’s Hispanic and Latino population grew to 1,080, or 13.8 percent of the total population, in 2014 from 870, or 11.1 percent of the population, in 2010, according to U.S. Census data.

Peruvian food has a broad appeal because it’s a fusion of Spanish and Asian cuisines, Jorge said.

So far The Inkan has been packed on weekend nights, just as the Long Island City location has been since it opened, Wendy said.

The Inkan’s varieties of ceviche, a traditional dish of raw fish in citrus juices, are among the most popular items on the menu in Garden City Park, Jorge said.

“We were expecting all kinds of people, but right now we see a lot of American people coming into the restaurant, they eat a lot of ceviche and they’re very happy with it,” he said.

Other popular dishes include lomo saltado, pepper steak sauteed with tomatoes and onions; jalea, a platter of fried seafood; and grilled beef heart, Jorge said.

The Inkan also has a wide selection of pisco, a grape brandy made in Peru and Chile.

Customers love the restaurant’s passion fruit-and mango-flavored piscos, and the mojitos and margaritas made with pisco instead of the usual rum and tequila, Jorge said.

The Inkan is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

By Noah Manskar

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