Hector Serrano, owner of BORICUA restaurant in Northern Liberties, adds another location to his family’s growing business.
On Monday, January 17, Serrano confirmed that his family will open their second location in the Port Richmond section of Aramingo Avenue. BORICUA’s second location is scheduled to open on Valentine’s Day weekend.
The restaurant will showcase Puerto Rico’s heritage by adding murals depicting particular landmarks on the island, including El Yunque National Rainforest and El Morro.
“Everything is brand new, from refrigerators to stoves, everything is completely new,” Serrano said in an interview with AL DIA News.
Other personal touches his family added to the second location include a custom-made welcome mat that reads, “The Serrano family welcomes you,” and at each seat is the greeting, “Buen provecho.”
“We have a lot of little details, we have tropical flowers that remind of the El Yunque rainforest, which is also the restaurant’s first theme,” he said.
Ahead of the grand opening, Serrano says he and his family will add more than 20 new dishes to his menu for the second slot, including sancocho – a hearty traditional stew made with beef, plantains and corn.
“We will also have different gazpachos, Puerto Rican meatballs and baked chicken, we have everything, we have a huge menu,” he said.
The restaurant will also be larger and will be able to accommodate around 40 people.
Another unique addition to their restaurants will be newly styled menus, which include facts about Puerto Rico.
“I wanted to let people know what we do as an island, so at the bottom of our menu there are a lot of facts,” he said.
A fact reads: “The island of Puerto Rico was the homeland of the Taíno Indians.”
The idea is to teach non-Latinos a bit of Puerto Rican culture.
“Sometimes people who aren’t Puerto Rican put us in the same category as other Latinos,” he said.
Serrano, along with his mother and sister, are excited to add another location to a neighborhood that lacks Puerto Rican cuisine.
With only a handful of popular Puerto Rican restaurants in Philadelphia, Serrano’s mission is to give everyone the chance to partake in delicious food and cultural experience by opening another place.
He and his sister grew up in North Philadelphia with a mother who insisted on showing them traditional cooking. Those memories would later inspire Serrano to open the BORICUA restaurant on June 11, 2020, just months after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Philadelphia.
Although it was a tricky time to open a restaurant, Serrano put his faith and savings account into the business venture and the rest was history.
Serrano’s future seems busy with traveling to different parts of town to maintain his two businesses, but thanks to his large family, he isn’t worried.
“Fortunately, my grandmother had eight children and about 48 grandchildren, so we have a lot of cousins and families who need jobs, so I ask family members if they need jobs,” Serrano said.
BORICUA #2 will be located at 3843 Aramingo Ave.