damage to their home. His family was safe and the very next day he went around the Community to see where he could help. The early lessons from his Mother taught him to be "positive." He said she always talked about "choices." They started cleaning up the restaurant and helping where they could in the Community. Leo said "that's what it's all about, you have to take care of your family and Community." "Sandy was a bad thing if you let it be a bad thing."
Today, Chilangos is enjoyed by the local Community and visitors from near and far. You always feel like family when you walk into their cozy restaurant, located in the heart of downtown Highlands. Leo and Jenny are passionate about bringing their customers the best, traditional Mexican cuisine at Chilangos and through their catering business. We can't forget to mention their margaritas... with over 230 varieties of taquila! Leo shared a favorite... click here for the recipe...
Oh, and we can't leave this story without sharing some really awesome and special news! With Leo's permission, we're excited to tell you that there is another Chilangos opening soon... a few towns North and beachfront... stay tuned! Vamonos de Fiesta! What a fun, enjoyable visit and privilege it was to meet the Cervantes family! Chilangos is open Mon-Thurs 4pm-10 pm; Fri-Sun 12pm-10pm. 732-708-0505
Mom was visiting then, they learned of a property in Long Branch. She encouraged him to move forward and they managed to get a small down payment and opened the first Chilangos. They operated in Long Branch for 2 years before moving to the Highlands in 2001. Leo and Jenny worked hard to build their culinary business and live their passion while raising their 3 children.
And when Sandy happened in 2012, 6-1/2 feet of water destroyed the restaurant. There was also
Leo, wanting a better life for himself, came to America and found a job working as a dishwasher at the Cypress Inn. in Ocean. That was 19 years ago. He worked very hard, was humble, respectful, and grateful. People around him saw this and opportunities opened up. The Chef noticed his abilities, strong work ethic and pleasant demeanor and moved him to the front line. When the Cypress Inn closed, Leo found work as a sous chef at the Shadowbrook Inn. He had dreams of opening a small Mexican Restaurant and when his
Photos by: RDM Photography, Ocean Grove, NJ
Sponsored by: Highlands Business Partnership
"Chilangos in the House"! Hear the special 'shout-out' in this short video biography by Carol Cassidy.
We met with Leo in the quiet, early part of the day before the restaurant opens for dinner. The kitchen was busy in preparation, and to our delight, his Mom is visiting from Mexico and was helping Leo's wife, Jenny in the kitchen.
And that's where the story begins. Leo is who he is today because of the great early teachings from his Mom. Born in Mexico City, Leo and his family lived in poverty, as we see in the film. He learned to cook, work hard, and to "keep on moving."
SEPTEMBER, 2014 ON LOCATION WITH LEO CERVANTES AT CHILANGO'S, HIGHLANDS NJ