Empire on Lincoln: Sisters to open third restaurant on one block in Prospect Lefferts Gardens

Brenda Castellanos and Ana Prince stand outside Taqueria El Patron, the first restaurant they opened on Lincoln Road.
Photo by Ben Verde

Two sisters are opening their third restaurant this weekend — on the same block as their first two!

Sisters Brenda Castellanos and Ana Prince hope to open their newest venture, Antojitos del Patron, on Lincoln Road in Prospect Lefferts Gardens near Flatbush Avenue, right across the street from their first two restaurants, Taqueria El Patron and Ix. The new restaurant will focus on traditional Mexican recipes, as opposed to its neighbor across the street, which serves more Americanized, California Style dishes like burritos and nachos. 

“We’re going to have the food that you easily find in Mexico on the streets or when you go to the market,” said Castellanos. “It’s real food — like Grandma’s recipes.”

Menu items at the new business include tamales, tortas, guaraches, and atoles, a warm Mexican beverage made from corn dough. The team hopes to open their doors this weekend at 50 Lincoln Rd., the former site of Nagle’s Bagels. 

The sisters say their businesses don’t compete with each other thanks to their distinct styles. While El Patron and Antojitos focus on different styles of Mexican cuisine, Ix, (pronounced: eesh) is part coffee shop and part restaurant, and serves up Mayan food from the sisters native Guatemala. The eatery was recently featured in the New York Times for its unique Guatemalan stews, which are hard to come by anywhere else in the city. 

The close proximity of their three ventures is part strategy and part happenstance according to the sisters, who say the spaces on their block became available, so they took advantage of them. Bit by bit over the past five years, the sisters have created a mini-empire on Lincoln Road. 

After immigrating from the town of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala 17 years ago, Prince and Castellanos worked as waitresses at several restaurants, but grew tired of having to answer to a boss every day. 

In 2015, they discovered the space that once hosted a Mexican restaurant where Prince had previously worked was available, and the pair decided to go in on their own business together. Taqueria El Patron was the result, but within a year the sisters had nabbed a liquor license, and were turning the vacant storefront next door into a cantina serving beer and liquor alongside grub from the taqueria every night from 4 pm to midnight. 

After another year, the sisters opened Ix – named after a figure of Mayan astrology – a venture that was close to the sister’s heart because it gave them the ability to showcase their home countries delicacies, which they had been aching for ever since they left their homeland. 

“That place is a dream,” Castellanos said. “We feel like finally, we were able to give something to this community that is us, 100 percent Guatemala.”

Despite the heavy workload that comes with managing three restaurants, the sisters say they don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, and that they plan to expand even more once Antojitos del Patron is set up – possibly even to another block. 

“We don’t know how long it’s going to take until we fall in love with a new place — but it’s going to happen,” Castellanos said.