MERIDEN — While Maria Romero worked between babysitting jobs and cooking at a restaurant, her lifelong dream was to one day open her own restaurant.
El Rincon Boricua, located at 81 W. Main St. in what was previously El Ebenezer restaurant, serves traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, drinks, and pastries. It opened on Saturday.
Romero and her family, originally from Guayama, Puerto Rico, have lived in Meriden for 17 years.
The restaurant will offer Puerto Rican-style sandwiches, including two of Romero’s own creations. The El Rincon Boricua sandwich contains churrasco, pastrami, and pernil; El Guayames is a plantain sandwich.
Cultural plates such as pastelon, Mofongo, cuajito and sancocho are also available.
The restaurant provides an authentic island look with Puerto Rican flags, paintings laminated on the tables, postcards with Spanish quotes and a Guayama banner with famous historical sites.
Romero and her husband, Manuel Romero, previously worked at Pan Del Cielo in Waterbury for several years. The founder of Pan Del Cielo, Elvin Lorenzo, says he knew the family for 20 years.
“I knew them when they came to work for me. It’s good, they are opening up a restaurant, and it’s very good that they move forward, I wish them the best and success in their new restaurant,” he said.
Kasandra Romero, daughter of Maria Romero, says she is proud of her family.
“I am so excited about everything, they worked so hard to do this and they finally did it,” she said.