Our first stop of the season?
El Centro De Oro
Thursday, May 2, 6-10 p.m.
Fifth & Lehigh
Come experience "the hub of Latino life and culture in Philadelphia" with our friends at HACE Community Development Corp. in the culinary mecca that is El Centro de Oro ("The Golden Block") in Fairhill, which serves as the heart of Philly's Latino community. HACE is a staple in the neighborhood, helping to develop and expand commercial corridors with unique Latino cultural character. The El Centro corridor along North Fifth Street features 168 small businesses, including El Bohio Restaurant (scroll down for more info!), Vivaldi Restaurant, Delicia Bakery, Romano’s Pizza and many more.
P.S. Don't forget ... nightmarketphilly.org is about to get a major face-lift! Keep your eyes peeled for the big reveal, going down in late April.
And while you're saving dates, mark these in ALL CAPS:
June 20 // Overbrook
August 15 // Fairmount Ave.
October 3 // Point Breeze
See you on May 2!
Tell us about your business.
We are a Latin food restaurant with 41 years in this building. We satisfy the palate of our community with the most exquisite flavors of our land, Puerto Rico.
How did you end up in Philly?
I lived in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, and before I turned 20, I went to live in Florida with a family member. A few months later, I decided to go to New Jersey where I was struck by the fact that what is now the casino area in Atlantic City was under construction. I asked if there was work available in a restaurant called Latin Casino. They gave me the opportunity to start working as a cook preparing short orders. There I was for 17 years, but the competition from other restaurants became bigger and the owner decided to close for the year in 1978, leaving us all without work. A co-worker told me that the building at 2745 N. Fifth St. in Philadelphia was available for rent-to-buy. In three years, I was able to buy it and I remain there today.
If people could try just one dish from your restaurant, what would it be and why?
Our customers’ favorite dish is a platter of rice, beans, beef steak and tostones. Although we have a variety of food, such as pork chops, empanadillas (meat pockets), stuffed potato and alcapurrias (taro root filled with meat), the platter is still the favorite. The beef steak is special because it is very soft, and prepared with a mixture of spices to give it an exquisite flavor.
What would you like people to know about your neighborhood?
Our business has started to work with HACE and the Mural Arts Program to beautify the neighborhood. We have a mural on my building. We want our neighborhood to be clean and beautiful, motivating other business owners to do the same.
Visit El Bohio at 2745 N. Fifth St.
Night Market Philadelphia and Community Engagement
Since its launch in 2010, Night Market has provided a platform for local food entrepreneurs to start or grow their businesses, while bringing people together in neighborhoods around local food and culture. To build on these activities, The Food Trust has begun to provide community forums at Night Market to create vibrant spaces for Philadelphians--long-time residents and newcomers alike--to share their perspectives on issues of local importance.
The Food Trust’s efforts to spur civic engagement and lift up local food entrepreneurs, especially those owned and operated by immigrants, are supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In Philadelphia, Knight Foundation works to promote inclusion; foster vibrant, connected communities; and invite people to participate in civic life. With Knight Foundation support, The Food Trust is working to infuse Night Market events with fun and innovative ways to deepen connections across the city’s increasingly diverse neighborhoods and create economic opportunities for new residents.