El Bochinche has been serving Colombian dishes like bandeja paisa, cazuela de mariscos, and other treats from the Latin American diaspora since 2002.
When the pandemic hit, Ruthmira Giraldo had to close the women-run, family-owned business in mid-April. The drop in sales forced her to send her employees home until mid-June. She cried desperately, worried that she would have to close for good.
“This business is like a baby to my mom,” said Angie Giraldo, who helps her mother with marketing, promotions, and management.
Today, the restaurant is open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining under current health regulations. To adapt the business to coronavirus guidelines, the Giraldo family purchased an adjacent patio, so customers can dine on park benches, while listening to salsa and bachata or watching Telemundo on cable.
El Bochinche is participating in Dine Latino Restaurant Week, an effort by the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that runs through Oct. 4. during dinner, with options for takeout, delivery, and select indoor and outdoor dining at participating restaurants.
Unlike the Dine Latino restaurant experience that took place in weekends in April and focused on takeout from Latino-owned restaurants, this restaurant week offers patrons a complimentary appetizer or dessert with the purchase of two entrees.
El Bochinche guests can enjoy yellow corn empanadas with beef or chicken as a complimentary appetizer. The owners expect new customers will try their homemade, large-portion meals.
“We put a lot of passion into it, because we have been a day-to-day small business all this time, and we hope our customers feel that devotion we have when they come,” Giraldo said.
Jennifer Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said this campaign hopes to create a sense of community during a socially distant Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.
“Dine Latino Restaurant is about celebrating Latino culture and diversity through food at a time when we are not able to come together through the traditional parades and large-scale gatherings,” Rodriguez said in an email.
Sazón Restaurant and Cafe
This homestyle restaurant at Spring Garden and Tenth Streets offers Afro-Caribbean cuisine from the coasts of Venezuela, including dishes like the shredded beef called pabellón criollo, and pescado con coco, fish with coconut sauce. Diners can choose appetizers such as arepas, yuca frita and tequeños, or desserts of chocolate churros and gluten-free brownies.
Co-owner Judith Suzarra-Campbell said Dine Latino week promotes unity among restaurant owners.
“It brings me a lot of hope and satisfaction to know that we are together in this time of such difficulties and challenges.”
Sazón, at 941 Spring Garden St., is open Friday through Sunday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m., for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.
Alma del Mar
This Mexican-owned restaurant in South Philly opened its doors three months ago during the pandemic. For restaurant week, they are offering a special seafood menu with dinner packages of up to $38 per person. Diners can mix and match entrees of lobster, fried fish, chicken, or steak with ceviche, corn on the cob, or a Marco’s salad. There’s tiramisu, pineapple ice cream, or perla negra cake for dessert.
Alma del Mar, at 1007 S. 9th St., is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.