The always-present matriarch behind Alphabet City mainstay Casa Adela has died, according to the Puerto Rican restaurant. Adela Fargas — long a fixture in the East Village and LES — was 81.
A memorial with a slew of candles and flowers has already popped up outside the restaurant, which has been open for more than 40 years at 66 Avenue C, according to EV Grieve. Hundreds of comments also poured out over social media, noting memories of both her presence in the Puerto Rican community and the way she perfected the spices of a rotisserie chicken.
Casa Adela, open since 1976, became a pillar in the neighborhood under Fargas. It’s known for that rotisserie chicken, as well as Puerto Rican classics like mofongo and pernil asado. Celebrities like actress Rosario Dawson have visited the restaurant, but many locals and Puerto Ricans visited for Fargas herself, whose friendly demeanor and welcoming presence made them feel like they were eating grandma’s home cooking at the restaurant.
The restaurant, run by her family, remains open. A viewing for Fargas will be held on Friday, January 19th.