Have some mambo with your mango and a little pachanga with your pancake.

Juquila Kitchen & Bar, a Mexican restaurant in Long Island City, will host Salsa Brunch on Sunday, March 3, from noon to 5 p.m.

In short, it’s a five-hour party with food, drinks, and Latin music. In essence, it’s a quasi-religious experience that brings passionate Salsa lovers from around the city together to do their beloved cross-body leads, hand-switch ochos, and free spins.

Admission is free, but patrons have a $20 minimum consumption fee. (Juquila has created a special menu for Salsa Brunch with a Happy Hour from noon to 2 p.m.)

The schedule is informal, but attendees usually spend the first hour eating and chatting. The rhythm gets them at about 1 p.m., and many are capable of moving and grooving straight until closing.

The organizers are a married couple – web developer Cesar Vichido, who grew up in Mexico, and Germany-born Annika Schimmer, a health and dance coach. About five years ago, they were eating brunch in a Harlem restaurant while a jazz band performed. They loved it and before they could say “cha cha cha,” they were organizing Salsa Brunch parties in Manhattan.

This is the first time Schimmer and Vichido host Salsa Brunch in Queens. They live in the borough now, and if this is successful, they plan on branching out to other neighborhoods.

“We’re hoping to create a community,” Schimmer said, adding that she’s willing to make Salsa Brunch a monthly fixture.

Serious salseros come to these fiestas, but Schimmer stressed that so do watchers and chatters. “You don’t have to dance if you don’t want to,” she said. “It’s a welcoming environment.”

DJ Om (below) specializes in traditional Salsa, naturally, but he responds to the crowd. So he often plays Dominican Bachata and Merengue rhythms. There’s no dress code, but Schimmer suggested high-quality shoes.

Juquila is at 39-05 29th St., where the Holiday Inn Long Island City Manhattan View is also located. It’s about three blocks north of the 7 train’s Queensboro Plaza subway stop and two blocks west of the 39th Avenue station for the N and W lines.

Images: Cesar Vichido


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