DURHAM, N.C. — Boricua Soul combines the best of North Carolina and Puerto Rico, making it the perfect restaurant to highlight during Hispanic Heritage Month.
"Our food celebrates our grandmothers' food, basically," Toriano Fredericks said.
What You Need To Know
Boricua Soul combines best food of North Carolina and Puerto Rico
Food inspired by owners' grandmothers
The Boricua Soul bowl is the restaurant's signature dish and includes mac and cheese, collard greens, tostones and pernil, a Latin American-style pork
Fredericks is the restaurant's head chef.
There's always a little pressure on him
"It is cool to kinda look out there and see my grandma, like you better be doing it right," Fredericks said.
His grandma and his wife’s grandma are always watching from their spots on the restaurant's murals.
They are impossible to miss when you first walk into Boricua Soul.
“We wanted when people walk into the room to get a good understanding without words exactly what we’re doing," Fredericks said.
What they’re doing is making delicious food, inspired by their roots and heritage.
Fredericks' wife’s grandparents are from Puerto Rico. His grandparents grew up in the South, where everything is a little extra.
Just take their mac and cheese casserole.
“A lot of eggs, heavy cream and seasoning, and it's just that Southern-style casserole," Fredericks said.
The restaurant’s signature dish is the Boricua Soul bowl.
The mac and cheese and collard greens represent the bowl's Southern side.
“We get our collards from Pinenuts Farms here in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina," Fredericks said.
The savory tostones, or fried plantains, give the bowl a Caribbean flair.
Fredericks adds salt before brushing them with a garlic and vinegar oil.
The pork, called pernil, is rubbed with Caribbean seasoning and cooked for six to seven hours.
“North Carolinians love pork, so this is just a different take," Fredericks said.
Arroz con gandules, or rice and pigeon peas, is another Puerto Rican staple.
When it all comes together, the result is a mix of Puerto Rican and Southern soul food both grandparents can be proud of.
“I love serving people, I love when people come in and they say it tastes just like their grandmother's, or just like their abuela's," Fredericks said
Besides the restaurant, the owners of Boricua Soul own a food truck and a stand at Durham Bulls games.