Carmen’s Cooking Puerto Rican has opened in Brighton, New York

Carmen Bailey enjoys cooking, but that doesn’t come from posting a picture of a dish on Instagram and seeing all the likes and comments.

Instead, her satisfaction occurs when she watches someone tasting her food, and she sees a look of pleasure or contentment light up their face.

She’s been seeing this look a lot over the past year, ever since she and her son, Andrew Bailey, opened Carmen’s Cooking that serves up flavors from her native Puerto Rico. Andy Bailey, Carmen’s husband and Andrew’s father, works as a business consultant.

The opening was risky. First, it opened in January 2021, when restaurants were closed for indoor dining.

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They chose to open in Brighton, miles from the epicenter with a huge Puerto Rican population in the area. On the one hand, there will be little competition for similar food, but does a city with a relatively small Puerto Rican population welcome it?

Decades of preparation

Carmen Bailey, center, with husband Andy Bailey, right, and son Andrew Bailey, left, at Carmen's Cooking Restaurant, located on Brighton Commons on Thursday, December 16, 2021 in Brighton.  The family briefly took off their face masks for the photo.

Carmen Bailey was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where she learned to cook. Born in New York City, her husband Andy Bailey lived in Puerto Rico from the age of five through the end of college.

For the past 28 years, they have lived in the Gates, where their three children were born and raised.

Over the years, Carmen has received rave reviews when she has served dishes like homemade empanadilla and New England clam chowder at church events, work events, family meals, and football events for her children. People were noticing that she should start a business.

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