SBDC Hall of Fame

Margaritte Malfy

La Palapa Cocina Mexicana
and La Palapa Rockola

Margaritte Malfy and Barbara Sibley
La Palapa Cocina Mexicana and La Palapa Rockola
Pace SBDC

Margaritte and Barbara own two authentic Mexican restaurants in NYC, one on St. Mark's Place in the East Village, and the other on Sixth Avenue in the West Village. Barbara, who grew up in Mexico City, and Margaritte, who travelled extensively in Mexico, wanted to present a lighter, subtler version of Mexican cuisine. They share a devotion to the cooking of Diane Kennedy, a Mexican food authority, extensive restaurant experience and a desire to work for themselves.

The clients first visited the SBDC in 2000 for help developing a business plan and securing financing. They had a difficult time after September 11, 2001, as did many of their fellow lower Manhattan business owners, saying that it was like starting all over again. They returned to the SBDC in 2003 to talk about financing for a second restaurant, which features a vintage jukebox, fabulous home cooking and unique artwork.

The original La Palapa, a hacienda-style urban eatery, has twice been named to Time Out New York's 100 Best Places to Eat and has been the subject of glowing reviews in New York's leading newspapers as well as in Zagat's Restaurant Guide. In 2002, Citysearch readers and editors selected La Palapa as having the best Mexican food in the city. The newer restaurant, La Palapa Rockola, designed to evoke the golden age of Mexican cinema, has also received rave reviews.