The name of this project is Latin American Restaurants in Action, and a major part of it is to encourage and promote the work of exceptional Latin restaurants that do exactly that. What it means to be “in action” really depends on how you look at it. When we think of restaurants in action, we think about those who are involved in their community, who seek to lift up, empower, and improve the health and wellbeing of their community. We saw a lot of that during the height of the pandemic with restaurants feeding essential workers and others in need. It’s such an inspiration to see people show up for their neighbors and their community.
Que Chevere, a Puerto Rican restaurant in The Market Line, and one of our restaurant partners, was one of those restaurants that stepped up when times were tough for everyone. They donated meals to the teachers and staff at The Cooke School, a school committed to the support and education of students with special needs. This work is something that is very close to the owner of Que Chevere, Mike Petrovitch. Mike’s son and grandson are both a part of the autism community, having different variations of autism themselves. In fact, supporting the autism community is woven into the restaurant’s business model, with a portion of their proceeds being donated to support autism awareness. As Mike wrote in a post for The Daily Rind, he plans to offer employment for those with autism in the future.
When we started working with Que Chevere back in June, our goal was to collaborate on offering healthier options for the community. Mike and his team were open and enthusiastic about helping change the narrative about Latin food. The product of this collaboration was a new menu item, called The Fresqueria Bowl, served with seasonal vegetables, habichuelas guisadas, and rice. I say this from experience (and as a non-vegetarian): this vegetarian option is so full of flavor and will leave you full, satisfied, and fueled up for the rest of your day.
A single menu addition may seem like small batatas, sure. However, it’s part of a larger initiative that’s part of an even larger conversation. Latin food is not inherently unhealthy, and its healthy side can be showcased and celebrated without compromising quality or culture. In addition to everything Que Chevere does to serve their community, they’re also helping to prove that point – and as far as we’re concerned, that’s a real Latin American Restaurant in Action.