Shop Talk: From Working in the Kitchen to Running Her Own

‘There are not many businesses run by women, let alone Latina women. I am glad to be breaking down barriers’ – Mayra Caguano, Mex-to-go

Nearly 20 years ago, Mayra Caguano was working in the kitchen of one of Westchester County’s most iconic restaurants, Peter Pratt’s Inn. She was asked by the inn’s then-owners, Craig Purdy and Jonathan Pratt, if she would work at a new take-out restaurant they planned to open in Croton-on-Hudson called Mex-to-go. Caguano jumped at the chance and it turned out to be the beginning of an adventure that led to her owning and growing Mex-to-go for the past 17 years. 

Mex-to-go offers fresh, authentic Mexican food based on family recipes. Their most 

popular items are Burritos and Tacos but they also offer a wide range of homemade items including Black Bean Chorizo and Tortilla soup (see recipe below) and their award-winning Chili, which is a multi-time winner of the Croton Rotary Club Chili Cook-Off. 

Although Caguano did not choose Croton as her restaurant’s home, she is grateful to Purdy and Pratt for deciding to open there “I am very grateful they did because Croton is a lovely community,” she recalled. “The support I have received from the village has been tremendous and is the reason we are still operating today.” 

For Caguana, who is from Ecuador, success has been a long journey. “As a Latina woman, it was a long journey to achieve the success my restaurant has attained,” she said. “There are not many businesses run by women, let alone Latina women. I am glad to be breaking down barriers.” 

As a long-time member of the Croton community, Caguano and Mex-to-go are very supportive of local events and charities. “We participate in many activities and events in the community,” noted Caguano. “We are a sponsor of the Harry Chapin Run Against Hunger every year. Whenever we can, we give gift certificates to any local organizations.” 

What’s next for Mex-to-go? According to Caguano, “we are looking to try out new recipes and expand our menu. Our progress has been steady, and we are looking forward to many more years to come.”
345 S. Riverside Ave.


Mayra’s Tortilla Soup (serves 5 people) 


  • 10 tomatoes chopped in half 
  • 1/2 onion 
  • 1 dried ancho chiles 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar 
  • 2 avocados
  • Olive oil, salt & pepper 
  • Sour cream 
  • 32 oz. chicken stock 


  • Combine tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper and olive oil and place in over at 400 degrees for 30 minutes 
  • Mix the tomato mixture in the food processor 
  • In a pan, fry onion, garlic, chiles with olive oil ad place in the food processor 
  • Place mixture in pot with olive oil and chicken stock and boil on low for 20 minutes 
  • When ready to serve, add sliced avocado and sour cream

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About the Author: Alain Begun