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Boom Boom Mex Mex

Once upon a time, in the early 2000s, a couple, Tom and Lupe Bryan, opened a Mexican restaurant in Camillus, New York. Before long, they had an enthusiastic and loyal following – Central New Yorkers are nothing if not loyal fans. They served carefully crafted, authentic Mexican foods – burritos, tacos, quesadillas, taco salads, homemade salsas, and heaping Nachos. Many people enjoyed coming to the colorful restaurant, but just as many enjoyed picking up an order to go – sometimes more than once or twice a week!

Huge portions, time tested favorites, a love for the business and an amazing community. Come check out Boom Booms for yourself on their facebook page!

And then the owners and creators of the restaurant, known by its cheer of a name – Boom Boom Mex Mex – who had traditionally been open from spring to fall and then traveled to Mexico for the winter – decided to retire. Their fans were dismayed.

Owners Sean Lavin and his father Bob Lavin

But fortunately for Central New York, this story continues – happily. When the Bryans retired, the business was taken up by a restaurant owner from Utica, who remained open under the same name for 2 years. Deciding to concentrate on just one location, he decided to close Boom Boom Mex Mex once again forcing Tom to put the building up for sale. Sean and Bob Lavin, looking for investment properties, knew the spot – for one very good reason. They were huge fans of the food! But they also realized that if the business were to reopen as Boom Boom Mex Mex, it simply had to be Boom Booms. So a family council was called, and everyone agreed to pitch in.

Today, Sean Lavin is in charge of day to day operations for the restaurant (while continuing to conduct business as an investment analyst). His father Bob, after finishing his day at National Grid, comes out to put in a shift. Bob’s wife, Marybeth, a pharmacist during the day, along with their other son Chris, also with National Grid, pitches in as well. Even Bob’s mother Rose Anne helps with the cleaning of the restaurant. It’s labor, certainly, but a labor of love.

And while the family is meticulous about maintaining the recipes that made Boom Boom Mex Mex such a popular stop, Sean – an analyst, after all – is constantly looking for ways to improve without changing what people love. “During the summer we’ll go through 200 pounds of chicken a day,” he said. “When we realized it took several employees hours a day just to cut up the chicken, we invested in a chicken dicing machine. Now all that work can be done in about an hour. That allows us to expand our hours and bring back lunches this year”.

Since none of the family had been in the restaurant business before, I wanted to know what was their biggest surprise. “When we opened the door that first day and there was a line wrapped around the front, waiting to get in!”

Their biggest fear? “Not being able to make the recipes exactly right. So we made sure they were perfect before we opened.”

Their biggest reward? “Having people tell us they’re so glad Boom Boom Mex Mex is back, and it’s just the way they remembered it!”

With customers coming back who enjoyed the food and the atmosphere for almost two decades, some of them as many as 5-6 times a week, Sean says they rely on not just the taste-tested recipes, but on large portions, plenty of extras like free guacamole with platters, and the fact that a family of four can eat – well – for under $40.

As the restaurant was gearing up for its second year, the virus shut-down that’s impacted so many, presented an additional challenge. “We still plan to open on May 2nd,” Sean says. “But we’re taking every precaution. Our employees are all trained, we’re following all the rules to the letter, and of course we’re already well-known for our take-out business, so we’re sure we can handle that for our customers. We’re looking forward to opening, seeing all our regulars, meeting some new customers, and making sure that Boom Booms is here for them this summer.”

“It’s about the community,” adds Bob. “We love our fans, they love Boom Booms, and we all love the food. It’s about love of the food.”

3263 Howlett Hill Rd (7.45 mi) Camillus, New York 13031 Open Noon-8pm 7 Days a Week. Open for the season: May 2nd.

Nancy Roberts