CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – Many of us get our introduction to various Hispanic cultures through food. The tastes, the smells, the spices — it can make your mouth water.
Papa’s Puerto Rican Restaurant recently held a block party to celebrate Hispanic heritage. Its chefs created authentic tastes of the island through their various dishes.
“Bistec encebollado which is a steak with onions. It’s really good. Relleno de papas are very favorite. Pastelillos are the number one seller here, you know. Everybody loves them,” said Miguel Rivera with the restaurant.
So much of the Puerto Rican culture revolves around food, family and music. There’s no better way to experience it than to try it.
“You walk into anyone’s house and it’s like, OK, fine, let’s get you some coffee and get you something to eat. It’s [the] main thing that they do. It’s first… they feed you all the time,” Rivera said.
Vilma Fernandez of Youngstown says the welcoming culture makes anyone feel at home.
“We’re so welcoming, you know what I mean? We see you, we say hi, you know? Things nowadays, everybody misses that point about, you know, humanity and stuff like that and we still, we still have that. We still hold that, you know? We welcome everybody,” Fernandez said.
Jose Gongalez is a DJ who plays a variety of Hispanic music. He developed his passion for it at an early age.
“Me and my sister used to come. Wake up Saturday morning, start cleaning the house to music. So from there, it just stuck,” Gongalez said, who DJs at Papa’s.
Co-owner of the restaurant Jeanette Morales says the music has flavor, which is a central aspect of the culture.
“It reaches the heart. The instruments, the words. So, the same thing goes with our food, you know? We put in our heart, we make it with love. So we tie those things together,” Morales said.
The dishes all have their own unique flavors, from cheesy to tangy to crispy. One thing remains consistent though, is that they are all so delicious.