For more than 15 years, Josefina Howard was the Executive Chef & Co-Owner of the original Rosa Mexicano on First Avenue near 58th Street in New York. Josefina's knowledge of regional Mexican cuisine and her dedication to providing genuine flavors and tastes quickly made Rosa Mexicano a destination for lovers of authentic Mexican cuisine. Today, guests at Rosa Mexicano continue to be the beneficiaries of Josefina's devoted search for the freshest ingredients and passionate immersion in a country and a "cuisine full of possibilities." Born in Cuba, Josefina Howard was raised in Spain and lived in France, Italy, Mexico and the United States.
When we opened the first Rosa Mexicano (which means “Mexican pink”) with chef and co-founder Josefina Howard in 1984, New York Magazine applauded us for introducing New Yorkers to a “hitherto unfamiliar, elevated version of Mexican cuisine.” Thirty years later, we continue to redefine expectations with our regionally authentic Mexican cuisine utilizing socially responsible ingredients combined with stylish spaces and festive atmosphere.
Many people mistakenly think our founder's name was Rosa and that the restaurants should therefore be called Rosa Mexicana, with a feminine -a at the end rather than a masculine o, since in Spanish an adjective has the same gender as the noun it modifies. But rosa mexicano is the name of a color, and in Spanish all colors are masculine. Mexican pink is an exciting combination of blue, red, and white. It is different from other pinks and very difficult to achieve outside of the particular luminosity of Mexico.
One day while on her way to visit a textile mill in Toluca, which lies to the southwest of Mexico City, our founder Josefina Howard saw a little village in the distance painted entirely pink. It had just rained and the village was a glowing splash of pink against the surrounding green; the whole landscape was profoundly Mexican. It was this moment that inspired Josefina to someday start her own business called Rosa Mexicano.