Monday, June 27

What is the “preferred” Mexican region for restaurants in New York and the United States?


Thousands of Mexican restaurants and bars expand with wide popularity and color throughout the United States and the world, some generic and others representing specific regions of that country, which has the largest Hispanic population on the planet.

Curiously, a region stands out as the preferred one, at least when it comes to giving a name and personality to those establishments in the US and particularly in New York: Puebla.

According to the study “What can we learn about Mexican immigration from restaurant names?” By data analyst Greg Feliu, Puebla represents 46% of all Mexican establishments in NYC, where the neighborhood in that region exceeds half a million people. At the national level, a peculiar finding like that only occurred with Michoacan, which accounts for 31% of restaurants in Dallas and 27% in Chicago.

“To get a broader view of the relative differences in the regional representation of Mexican restaurants in the US cities studied, I created a map (see below). Here, it is quite obvious that the dominant region for each of the US cities is different in each case. What is clear is that Most of the regions represented are from Bajío and Central Mexico”, Feliu commented on his portal.

Asked also which US city is the most diverse in terms of regional representation of its Mexican inhabitants, Feliu chose 30 restaurants at random for each city and counted how many geographic and culinary areas were represented by those establishments. In response, Dallas had the most geographic regions represented and Chicago with the most culinary regions.

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Considering all the results together, Michoacán, Jalisco and Puebla are the most represented regions in this sample of restaurants and coincide with the total of remittances sent to Mexico, according to Feliu. “The connection between the regional connection of Mexican restaurants and actual immigration is clearly correlated.”

“The restaurants in this project show a clear trend in terms of Mexican culinary regions: the southern and Gulf of Mexico regions were not well represented (only 15% when combined). The most populated region was the Bajío, and the others (Central, North and North Pacific Coast) accounted for around 15% of the total.

Interestingly, most of the restaurants that represent northern Mexican cuisine and the northern Pacific coast are located in San Francisco and Dallas. This shows a potentially different migration from Mexico to the south / southwestern US for people from northern Mexico. However, in general, we see a somewhat different vision of the origins of Mexican cuisine in the United States today ”, the analyst concluded.

Feliu recognizes, however, that this project is destined to be “An initial look at the regional origin of Mexicans in select cities in the United States (and) relies on some assumptions to prove it ”, which he cites:

  • The Mexican restaurants in this study are representative of their owner / workers.
  • Mexican immigrants from all regions will open restaurants in equal proportions.
  • All restaurants are equally likely to contain a name identifiable with a region.

“These assumptions, of course, are not sound (…) Therefore, my results should be understood as an educated guess about the origins of Mexican immigrants within the US “.

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Comparison of origin in four cities in the US / Greg Feliu


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