Freakin Rican Restaurant offers authentic Puerto Rican cuisine in Astoria, Queens

NEW YORK – Nestled between a laundromat and a pub in Astoria, Queens, you’ll find a piece of Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Rican food truly nourishes the heart and soul. You cook with so much love you transcend […] the food, ”said Derick Lopez, executive chef and founder of The Freakin Rican restaurant.

Lopez grew up in the South Bronx and remembers going to Latin carnivals with his mother as a child.

“The happiest times were eating the cuchifritos,” Lopez said.

Lopez took this passion for food and made it a career. He was 34 when he opened his first restaurant.

“I really didn’t have much experience and I failed. I was broke. I lost everything, but learned so much. Since I had so much passion, I sat down to start over.” , Lopez said.

He did it this time around in the form of food festivals, bringing that back to what helped fuel his passion for cooking. He called his food truck “The Freakin Rican”.

“Fortunately, with the festivals, we were able to self-fund the restaurant. It’s authentic Puerto Rican cuisine,” Lopez said. “We sell everything from your grandmother’s pastels. The mofongo is doing very well.”

Lopez added, “We’re all community driven. We just want to connect people with the food conversation. It’s crazy how much love comes out of here.”

“Growing up in the South Bronx, there were so many Puerto Rican restaurants, almost in every corner. Now there really aren’t any because food takes a lot of work. You make all of these things from there. zero, ”Lopez mentioned.

“It was one of the main reasons I wanted to open this restaurant – to represent the Puerto Rican community,” Lopez explained. “It’s a lot of work, but it excites me, which is why I do it.”

“All we have is our heritage and our culture. If we don’t continue to pass it on to the younger generation, what do we have left? Lopez asked.

From actors to activists, people share stories of celebrating their heritage, expressing their identity as Latino, Latinx or Hispanic, and representing and accepting their diverse cultures. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with “Our America: Todos Unidos” on the streaming apps of ABC and Hulu-owned TV channels.

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