Tell me in detail how the idea for Puerto Viejo came together:
What many people don’t know is that our family restaurant has been open since 1986. My father emigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1978 and worked tirelessly as a dishwasher and busboy until he saved enough to realize his dream. In 1986, he opened his own Dominican luncheonette and offered his family’s favorite dishes – pernil, baked chicken, beef stew, rice and beans and tostones! In 2012 a fire happened and he was forced to shut down. The children got involved and created the concept of Puerto Viejo Dominican Bistro. The restaurant reopened with the same menu and kitchen crew, but with a remodeled interior and new management.
Where did the inspiration come for Puerto Viejo?
The history of the Dominican Republic was the inspiration for Puerto Viejo. Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, is the oldest city in the New World. It was initially the political and cultural hub from which Spaniards used as the first point of influence to conquer other Caribbean islands and much of the American mainland. The island was a prime location for trading ships. We shared this with Esteban Salazar from designlabes, and he ran with the idea. As a result, when you walk into Puerto Viejo you feel like you have been transported to an old port in La Hispaniola or what we prefer to call Quisqueya.
What are you trying to represent in your menu and space?, what are the roots?
Our menu and space is a representation of the old and the new. In Puerto Viejo we stay true to our roots by offering traditional Dominican cuisine that tastes just like our Mother’s cooking. The influence of the younger generation is apparent by the attention to detail given in plating our dishes. Also, what gives Puerto Viejo an extra edge is the variety in music and the use of recycled furniture and materials which shows a conscious effort towards sustainability. The ambiance coupled with the taste of a home cooked menu is what makes Puerto Viejo not just a restaurant, but an experience.
What are your favorite ingredients to use?
We pride ourselves in using only natural ingredients and seasonings in our food. Fresh garlic and Dominican oregano are favorites in our kitchen.
Tell me about the menu and the food in your words
We serve flavorful food that feels like it has been cooked from the comfort of your own home. We use fresh ingredients and home style recipes to prepare authentic Dominican dishes just like you will find in the island.
Signature dish at puerto Viejo
Pernil or roasted pork shoulder. Slowly cooked and teased apart, served with gravy and a piece of crispy skin on top.
The oxtail stew is another signature dish of ours with a cult following.
What to drink in Puerto Viejo?
Morir Rocando: this cocktail is a delicious remake of the traditional morir soñando juice. We add Japanese sake to the mix for an umami twist!
Jugo de avena: a creamy, refreshing drink made of oats soaked in lemon juice that are then blended and strained.
And our famous sangrias!... red, white or berry.. all served with fresh fruits.