NEW YORK - Many boys and girls wish to become professional athletes as adults. For almost all, the dream ends before adulthood begins. For some, regardless of the occupations that fill their working hours, they remain close to the sport they loved as children.
Miguel Montás, a successful restaurant owner in New York City remains close to baseball and to many baseball players in the major leagues. He was born in the Dominican Republic. Like many of his countrymen, he loved baseball. He was a talented player who played centerfield, but that was not to be his life.
A new phase of his life began on September 24, 1985, when he moved to New York City. The reason he left his homeland was the same as so many immigrants from so many lands, “It was difficult to earn a living at home.”
His goal in the United States was to own a restaurant in the neighborhood where many of his countrymen resided. He made an agreement with the owner of the Capri Restaurant, located on 177th Street and St. Nicholas Ave., to make weekly payments toward the purchase price. The previous owner agreed because the restaurant was not doing well. The promotional efforts of Montás led to much improved business for the eatery.
As with many intelligent and farsighted entrepreneurs, initial success led to even greater success in the future. The next venture for Montás was a larger restaurant, El Nuevo Caridad, at its present location, 191st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. The area is a predominantly Dominican residential section in Washington Heights.
Community interest and support for the establishment grew greatly, not only because the food was delicious, the staff was attentive and the owner was personable, but also because of the mutual love of baseball by Montás and the residents of the community.
Natives of the area who reached the big leagues like Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez and Pedro Alvarez visited regularly. Thus, it did not take long for the word to spread among Latino major leaguers that El Nuevo Caridad was a very agreeable place to eat. According to Montás, “Ray Negron, a community relations advisor to Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner brought many players and my relationship with big league players grew greatly.”
Negron said of the restaurateur, “You can’t help but to fall in love with Miguel Montás.” Through Negron, Montás established a relationship with Steinbrenner. Negron related, “I brought Miguel to the Boss’s office. Later, the Boss visited the restaurant after hearing the players on the Yankees rave about it.”
Montás regularly attends games at Yankee Stadium and many players dine regularly at the restaurant. The closeness with Steinbrenner also encouraged members of the Yankee brass like Brian Cashman and Felix Lopez to become patrons. Montás also became friendly with Steinbrenner’s, son, Hank, by his support of Hank’s youth team, Hank’s Yanks.
In addition to the closeness between Montás and many big leaguers, the generous restaurant owner contributes money and food to several little leagues in the city to encourage today’s young people to engage in positive and healthy activities.