522 Columbus Ave , New York, NY 10024
opening for lunch at noon on jan 17th
Growing up in a small town in Guerrero wasn’t easy. Nina, the second oldest of 7, began working at ten years old to help her family make ends meet. While her childhood wasn’t ideal, some of her fondest memories evoke: watching her abuelo make fresh cheese that they would later sell at the market, and the deliciousness of those cheese samples; sometimes her only meal that day. On the rare occasions that her mother could afford to make her famous mole sauce from scratch, she would watch attentively and steal little bits of chocolate when her mom wasn’t looking. This laborious and complex sauce, native to her home state, would become the famous Nina’s Mole many fortunate New Yorkers would get to savor.
At 15, she moved to Mexico City, in pursuit of more work opportunities, a common theme in her life. She would meet her husband and together start their first “Huaracheria” shop, a specialty street food, with great success. With the arrival of their third child and an economic downturn, Nina decided it was time to make some big changes and possibly the most difficult decision of her life.
It wasn’t long after arriving in NYC that Adelina “Nina” Guzman decided to open her own restaurant. With the hopes of a better life, she left her home and family behind in Mexico and like many others before her, Nina started washing dishes and working her way up to line cook in various kitchens. One of her first jobs, making tortillas by hand at the elegant and celebrity frequented, Rosa Mexicano led to working alongside Josefina Howard and becoming her right hand woman. Seeing a woman like Josefina succeed in a place like New York, only inspired her to continue striving for more. These feats and accomplishments, while great on their own, don’t do Nina’s work ethic and determination justice.
In 1994, now reunited with her husband and children, she decided it was time to share her own authentic food with the world. Together they opened The Great Burrito, where Nina’s unique and flavorful pairings became a neighborhood staple and everyone’s favorite mom and pop Mexican for nearly 30 years.
In 2020 , due to the pandemic, the original storefront shut its doors but thanks to a loyal customer and friend they were able to reopen as a take-away only operation, sharing kitchen space in his nearby restaurant.
Betty, the oldest of the three children, who has been a part of the restaurant since it opened its doors, is head of operations and management while Nina continues to create the recipes and overlook her kitchen staff, who have become like family. Her husband Manuel and Manuel junior, take care of inventory and produce purchase continuing the family-run tradition.
Today, in collaboration with restaurateur Jeremy Wladis, Nina and The Great Burrito family bring you a new take on the original menu and continue to serve you the tradition, flavor and magic that started with a young girl in Mexico and her American Dream