When talking about the city of Brooklyn, one can’t help but acknowledge the fact that it is a melting pot of many different cultures which is one of the reasons why the borough is a sought-after destination.

Of the many different ethnicities that make up our country, Hispanics are the nation’s second-fastest-growing racial or ethnic group, making up roughly 18% of the nation’s total population.

According to data from The Pew Research Center, the overall total reached 60.6 million in 2019 and based on the 2010 Census, 19.8% of Brooklyn’s population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.

Hispanic Heritage month, which runs between September 15th and October 15th, marks the celebration of a culture that has seen, and continues to see, great strides and accomplishments.

Originally established as Hispanic Heritage week in 1968 as a celebration that recognizes the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came to this country, it then became a month-long celebration back in 1988.


Interesting Fact – September 15th was chosen as the start date because it is the anniversary of the independence of five Hispanic countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.


Over the years, there have been a great number of trailblazers and history makers who have paved the way in a variety of outlets, some names more recognizable than others.

People like Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic female astronaut (she visited space four separate times), Lizzie Velasquez, an anti-bullying advocate, Sylvia Rivera, a Venezuelan-Puerto Rican transgender person who fought tirelessly for LGBTQ rights and is credited with putting the “T” in the acronym LGBTQ, Berta Caceres, a leading environmental and human rights activist who spent her life fighting for the rights and land of the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras, and the notable Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a groundbreaking figure in modern politics.

Big name stars like Rita Hayworth, Rosie Perez, Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, and Christina Aguliera, to name just a few, have come out of Brooklyn or the surrounding boroughs, and went on to be a force in their respective fields.

When we speak of Brooklyn being a melting pot of cultures, there are quite a few neighborhoods with a strong Hispanic presence. Bushwick, a neighborhood originally founded by the Dutch, became predominantly Hispanic by the late 20th century, and today has the largest Hispanic community, many of whom are Puerto Rican with some Dominican and people from South America.


Interesting Fact – Approximately 80% of the neighborhood population is Hispanic and the dominant language spoken is Spanish.


Other areas with a strong Hispanic presence include:

East New York, originally founded as the town of New Lots in the middle of the 1600s, began to see a rise in the Hispanic community towards the latter part of the twentieth century.

Sunset Park, a sparsely developed area in the late 19th century, but one that would be called home by many Hispanic and other immigrant groups by the 21st century.

Williamsburg, an area that has not only gone through gentrification since the late 1990’s but has always welcomed numerous ethnic groups within the enclaves of the neighborhood.

Red Hook, originally a prosperous shipping and port area in the early 20th century is now home to many ethnic groups including Hispanic.

Puerto Viejo Dominican Bistro in 1940 Brooklyn NY

Along with the multi-cultural neighborhoods that many Brooklynites call home, the borough is also filled with an array of Hispanic-owned businesses which allow both residents and out-of-towners the opportunity to experience the culture.

With a wide array of culinary options, there are quite a few neighborhood restaurants to try. And despite the numerous obstacles businesses have faced over the last several months due to the worldwide pandemic, these tried and true neighborhood gems have continued to serve their patrons. Some establishments to check out include:

Puerto Viejo – This Dominican Bistro has been a neighborhood staple since 1986. Serving up authentic dishes using only the freshest ingredients, a meal at Puerto Viejo will leave you feeling like it came straight from your kitchen. – 564 Grand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11238

Love, Nelly – Serving Columbian inspired sweets, Love, Nelly, located in East Bushwick, pays homage to co-owner and baker Stephanie Gallardo’s mom. All of the sweet treats are reminiscent of the childhood memories Stephanie has of visiting family in Columbia and South America. – 53 Rockaway Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11233


Casa Ora – This farm to table restaurant not only serves up some home cooked Spanish food, it is also focused on bringing the beauty and nature of Venezuela to NYC. In an effort to give back, Casa Ora donates a portion of their revenue to families forced to seek asylum due to lack of human rights. – 148 Meserole Street, Brooklyn, NY  11206


Devocion – Launched in 2006, Columbian born Steve Sutton set out to bring his customers the freshest coffee imaginable. With not one but three cafes, (Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, and the Flatiron District in NYC,) this farm-to-table coffee can also be ordered directly from Devocion’s website for anyone who cannot make it to one of the three locations.


While these are just a few places within the various Brooklyn neighborhoods, authentic Hispanic cuisine can be found throughout the entire borough.

As we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, it’s important to learn more about the people and brands whose roots are embedded in the Hispanic culture and continue to break down barriers, along with the pioneers who helped pave the way for others to follow.

Ten Hope Garden, Williamsburg

As New York City slowly continues moving forward in re-opening, residents in the five boroughs have been doing their best to enjoy these summer days. After a couple of long months indoors, for the most part, people seem ready to venture out.


This doesn’t mean ditching the masks or attending large gatherings, but instead finding ways to enjoy the things we loved doing pre-COVID while continuing to put safety first. And while not all post-pandemic activities have returned, there are still ways in which residents can go out, enjoy a meal, listen to some music or even catch a movie while showing local businesses some love.


Despite the fact that indoor dining remains on hold indefinitely, restaurant owners have turned creative in converting their outdoor areas into a big, or in some cases small, dining room. Between taking over sidewalks, parking lots and courtyard space, restauranteurs are doing their best to provide customers with the opportunity to once again enjoy some of their favorite cuisine.


Up until recently, there wasn’t an option to dine-out, but many of our favorite spots are finding ways to “make it work”. Diners are ready to take a break from the endless baking and cooking and head out to enjoy time outdoors while supporting their favorite eateries.


Now when it comes to finding places to eat, Brooklyn has no shortage of restaurants. From well-known spots to hidden gems, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a great lunch spot, an evening out, or even a weekend brunch, we’ve got you covered. Many places are on a first come first serve basis while some restaurants still require reservations, so be sure to check first before venturing out.

Fornino by Brooklyn Bridge Park

ForninoA view of the skyline serves as a beautiful backdrop for this waterfront eatery located at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Serving some of the best wood-fire pizza in NYC, the restaurant boasts outdoor seating for 100 and a rooftop happy hour Monday thru Friday from 4-7pm. In addition, the restaurant also has a location in Greenpoint where they offer seating in their backyard space which accommodates up to 24 people.


Ainslie – Located in Williamsburg, the Ainslie provides its customers with multiple outdoor dining options. Between the backyard garden, sidewalk seating, and the newly opened rooftop, there is plenty of seating options. An all you can drink brunch menu is available on weekends from 12-4pm.

Ten Hope Garden – Another great spot in Williamsburg is the Mediterranean inspired New American restaurant. Some features include a vine laced open-air patio where diners can enjoy dinner starting at 5pm weekdays and noon on weekends. With 2500 square feet to work with, there is plenty of space to socially distance while still enjoying a delicious meal.


Palo Santo – The Park Slope neighborhood is known for their beautiful Brownstones and this Pan-Latin restaurant resides in one of the many that line the area’s streets. Despite the limited sidewalk seating, Palo Santo boasts a beautiful, tented garden for seating out back. Along with serving dinner, brunch is available starting at 10am on both Saturday and Sunday.


Morgan’s Brooklyn BBQThis BBQ spot is not just a restaurant, it’s a destination! With choices like brisket, ribs, and pork smoked ‘low and slow’ in fire-burning pits, you just might think you’re in the Lone Star state, not Prospect Heights. This true neighborhood gem, which also cooks up seven different types of Mac and Cheese, offers safe-distance seating with outdoor picnic tables.


ParkLifeSituated in the heart of the Gowanus, Parklife offers not only the option to dine outside, but on Wednesday’s you can reserve a seat for their outdoor cinema series. ParkLife even offers ordering from your smartphone. You can start off your meal with one of their signature cocktails, including house margaritas and Aperol Spritz on tap. And now that summer’s here, frozen margaritas are another refreshing drink choice. As for the food, the dishes are inspired by Mexican, Parisian, and Texan flavors. To top off your meal, choose from a variety of their homemade desserts.


Outerspace – Tucked inside an industrial corner of Bushwick and 99 Scott, Outerspace offers a seasonal restaurant serving mostly vegetarian-American cuisine. Due to the fact all events were put on hold, the co-founders decided to incorporate food as a way to bring people together. The 6500 square foot space holds up to 126 guests and is filled with umbrellas, picnic tables, and a multitude of potted plants, making you feel like you’re in a tropical garden. The unique space is a great spot for people to get together, eat, drink, and have fun.

Ainslie, Willamsburg

Though going to the movies has been put on hold the Skyline Drive, a photo and filming location in Greenpoint, is providing people with a unique drive-in cinema experience. Spots are on a first come first serve basis, but tickets can be purchased online. The movies playing are classics, some more recent than others, but there’s something for everyone. In an effort to keep the movie tradition alive, you can choose to watch the movie from inside your car (sound is through your car radio or from one of their rentable radios) and for anyone who has those movie snack cravings, food trucks are located on-site.


Along with dining out or catching a flick, local beaches, boardwalks, waterfronts, parks, and zoos, are a few additional outdoor options to consider when looking for different ways to enjoy summer days. Although summer travel plans have been put on hold for many people, now is a great time to get outside and explore your city.