From 1929 to 1988, Casa Moneo was a leader in Spanish and Latin American gastronomy in New York City. It was first located at 218 West 14 Street on the ground floor, then the business was moved to 210 West 14th Street. It was opened by Carmen Barañano, a Spaniard from the Basque region and widow of Jesús Moneo. Her family members, Maria Luisa Moneo and Jesus Moneo, also helped Carmen start the small business. Casa Moneo was known as a “tienda de ultramarinos.” The family took pride in selling imported Spanish products, such as chorizo, ham, and olive oil. According to Edward Moneo (grandson of Carmen), “My father insisted on quality. The store always stocked the best items that could be obtained. He made many trips to Spain to visit the suppliers and select the best that they had.” They also sold things like cookware, dresses, shoes and perfumes, too.
As time went on Casa Moneo began expanding by importing products their customers asked for from many varied Latin American countries. Even a delicatessen was added to the store in the late seventies. Casa Moneo was featured many times in the gastronomy section of the New York Times. Carmen Moneo’s son sought to add a sidewalk café to the establishment. However, upon closing for renovation the Moneos fell into severe debt and the store was not able to be reopened. Customers ranging from individuals to restaurateurs sent distraught letters about the loss of this Spanish and Latin American food hub, and even today continue to blog about their fond memories of this business that served as a kind of anchor for the Little Spain that emerged on West 14th St.