The El Paso Deli in the heart of the Highland hamlet has a new owner, Alice Ortiz. She has been open for just a month.
Ortiz previously lived in Poughkeepsie for 18 years and has recently purchased a home in Highland. She has a 7 year old son, “and I love the schools here and that’s why I moved here.”
Ortiz said her most popular dishes are Tacos, a soft or hard corn tortilla filled with lettuce, sour cream, cheese, Pico de Gallo and meat; Quesadillas, a flour tortilla filled with cheddar cheese, Pico de Gallo and a choice of meat; Burritos, a tortilla stuffed with guacamole, rice, beans, string cheese and a choice of meat and Enchiladas, a corn tortilla filled with chicken cheese or beef covered in a sauce and topped with onions, sour cream and cilantro.
Ortiz said El Paso is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., seven days a week, and perhaps until 9 p.m. once everything fully opens up. Presently, people order by phone and come to pick their food up.
When asked about the long work day, Ortiz laughed, saying, “You know Spanish people like to work and I love to cook.”
Ortiz is originally from Oaxaca, a region in southwestern Mexico, bordered by the states of Guerrero to the west, Puebla in the northwest, Veracruz to the north and Chiapas to the east. Oaxaca also has a long coastline on the Pacific Ocean. She said there, “you don’t have restaurants to eat so everything is cooked at home.”
When Ortiz was 17 she traveled north to see a friend in Tijuana and a year later she came to New Jersey with another friend and made pizzas in a restaurant. She eventually ended up in the Hudson Valley.
Ortiz said people have been calling up to order from her menu, saying “it’s been OK, so far so good.”