To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month we wanted to start this series with highlighting a few influential figures in this community. With LES being Extra Butter's home, it was important to us to highlight the community that has shaped the neighborhood today.
After surviving the Pandemic, Lower East Side Que Chevere is still serving up authentic Puerto Rician cuisine. As a LES native and restaurant owner, Mike Petrovitch feels it’s his job to keep his culture connected to the community as it was years ago and bring back authentic Puerto Rician cuisine that has somewhat seemed to disappear from the Lower East Side. “It was a big deal to open up a restaurant in The Market Line. It was a part of our culture years ago and to now be a part of it’s new revival is pretty dope,” says Mike’s daughter Michelle.
Mike's autistic son, Dominic played a role in the deciding factor of starting his own business to ensure financial stability for his family, particularly long after Mike’s gone. His oldest daughter, with a strong love for cooking, told him he should open a restaurant. Leaning on her idea, he started a business connected to his culture and heritage while also securing chef Maro that used to work for music industry professionals such as Carlos Sanata, Sammy Hagar and Steven Tyler to name a few. Que Chevere has won many awards with the sauces Maro has created. The older Puerto Rician community from the island are floored by the authenticity and flavors of the foods they try and Que Chevere.
Que Chevere has big plans for the future. Mike is opening a second location in Urban Space of the Financial District in NYC early next year and also has plans to open a brick and mortar location in the upcoming years. Check out Que Chevere in The Market Line, and when you do try the most popular dish, The Chevere. You won’t be disappointed.
Cortadito Cuban Cuisine
Husband and wife Patricia and Ricardo have been running their restaurant, Cortadito Cuban Cuisine @cortaditocuban since June of 2007. The name derives from a delicious Cuban coffee, which is called Cortadito. Being the only Cuban restaurant in the Lower East Side, Patricia and Ricardo wanted to make sure they brought some Cuban flavor to the neighborhood, especially being natives of Cuba. Authentic Cuban cuisine was important. During the Pandemic they were grateful enough to not have to close their business, managing to do deliveries and take-out. After being closed for 3 months, they re-opened their restaurant in June 2021 allowing their workers to come back and customers to experience in-person dining.
In the neighborhood they’re known for their lively brunches every Saturday and Sunday, where they have bottomless specials and cook up some of the best Cuban dishes you'll find in NYC. They’ve even incorporated a screen projector in the restaurant where they show various sport games, depending on the season and what customers prefer to watch. Cuban locals throughout the NY Metro Area travel to their restaurant for the true flavors of Cortadito.
Check out Cortadito Cuban Cuisine one weekend, and when you do try their popular Cuban dishes that are pictured, Tortilla de Plátano con Ropa Vieja and Guacamole Toast with Eggs with a Cuban soda. We suggest the Pineapple flavor 😋 You’ll also spot a mural in Cortadito that has been there for over 20 years. It pictures some of the locals from LES, who used to visit the local cafe that is now Cortadito.
As an immigrant from Venezuela, owner Jonathan of Patacon Pisao continues to bring Latin flavor to the Lower East Side. He moved to Queens, NY from Venezuela when he was 2 years old. In high school, LES became Jonathan's stomping grounds and he would constantly tell himself that one day he would open his own restaurant in LES.
In 2005 Jonathan opened a food truck with his brother in Washington Heights, a Queens location in 2009 and the LES location in 2015. Jonathan’s goal is to bring a Venezuelan vibe and culture to LES, without being too traditional while tying in the most popular item on the menu, the plantain aka their most popular dish, the patacon. He wanted to make sure people knew that it was a Venezuelan dish while also making it known that a lot of cultures revolve around the plantain (South America, Central America, Africa, India). To sell to a wider audience he wanted to make sure his food was universal and more than just Vensuzalan food, while still being very connected to Latin Culture.
Patacon Pisao has big plans for the future. Show Patacon Pisao some love by stopping by their LES location at 139 Essex Street, and tell them EB sent you. Try the Patacon, you won’t be disappointed.
“Balvanera is more than a restaurant,” says founder and chef @fernavascocinero, “we’ve been very lucky to have such a supportive community of neighbors. When we opened our doors after the Pandemic, neighbors wanted to support us in any way they could whether it be eating outside while it was cold or raining. They didn’t care. They just wanted to support.”
Being an immigrant from Argentina and moving to LES in 2007, Fernando wanted to bring a taste of his culture to the Lower East Side and his now second home away from home. After working as a chef in Spain, France and Japan, Fernando opened @balvaneranyc in 2014. The restaurant is not only known for its authentic Argetinian flavors but for it’s imported Argetinian beef and special wines. Their most popular dishes are the Empanadas de humita and the Pulpo de playa.
Check out Balvanera in the Lower East Side on 152 Stanton Street. If you’re not in LES, all good- Balvanera ships anywhere in the US. Their most popular dishes are the Empanadas de humita and the Pulpo de playa. Thank us later. #hispanicheritagemonth