A charity dining event is shining a spotlight on Latin-owned food business. Latin Restaurant Weeks returns for its second year with an expanded roster of participants and new provisions to accommodate the way people are dining in the age of COVID-19.
Timed to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), LRW runs from September 20-October 4. Similar to both Houston Restaurant Weeks and Black Restaurant Weeks, participating restaurants will create special, prix-fixe menus and dishes. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Second Servings of Houston, the local non-profit that rescues surplus food and donates it to charitable meal sites.
“We’re thrilled for the return of Latin Restaurant Weeks and will keep encouraging Houstonians to explore Latin flavors from all over the world that can be found right here in our own backyard,” organizer Karinn Chavarria said in a statement. “We’re ready to celebrate our local Latin hospitality talent and culture, and lift up restaurants which have taken the brunt of difficulty during the ongoing pandemic.
Organizers are still accepting additional participants, but the roster already includes a number of exciting eateries. Diners will find LRW specials at a wide range of restaurants, including Maison Pucha Bistro, the French restaurant in The Heights with Ecuadorian touches; Chick Houz, the fast casual Peruvian chicken restaurant from chef Roberto Castre (Latin Bites); Sweets by Belen, the South American pastry shop in Southwest Houston; and La Calle Tacos, downtown's Mexico City-inspired taqueria.
Price points range from $10-50, making it accessible to many people. For example, a $12 breakfast at Arepa Xpress in Spring includes a choice of three empanadas, an arepa, and a drink. At La Calle companion cantina, the three-course, $34.99 menu comes with options like cucumber and shrimp ceviche, a birria torta, dessert, and choice of alcoholic beverage — including a 32-ounce frozen margarita. All nine Houston-area locations of La Reyna Tortilleria are offering a $12.99 menu that includes a choice of barbacoa tacos or rotisserie chicken with charro beans, dessert, and a choice of drink.
In addition to the menu, LRW has organized two virtual events that feature up-and-coming Latin culinary talent. On September 22, chef Efrain Villareal Jr. from Tony’s Tex-Mex will demonstrate his technique for making pan-seared scallops. On September 23, bartender Patrick Abalos of the eagerly anticipated cocktail bar Night Shift will host a cocktail demonstration. Both events are free to watch and are sponsored by Herradura Tequila.
“Our goal is to highlight these establishments in ways that increase business during and beyond the two weeks,” Chavarria added. "Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to shine a light on the diverse traditions and dynamic Latin flavors that contribute to Houston’s rich heritage and culture, and its nationwide reputation for incredible food.”