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'Our heritage goes a long way' | Puerto Rican restaurant makes locals feel at home

The authentic Puerto Rican restaurant has been been serving the community for 52 years.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Aqui Me Quedo restaurant in Hartford prides itself on family, fresh food, and culture. Staff explained that although they're decades in the game, they have ongoing efforts to leave a legacy in the community they serve.

Joel Rohena, Owner of Aqui Me Quedo Restaurant, said they are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and have become a community staple.

"It's a typical Puerto Rican restaurant that's been around for 52 years and going," said Rohena. 

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Rohena said that legacy is displayed all over the walls, showcasing its Puerto Rican roots in Capitol City. He reiterated their mission to serve authentic cuisine. 

Rohena and Judith Carrillo, the manager at Aqui Me Quedo Restaurant, said those who walk into their small business always say the same thing. 

"Oh, when they come in here, they say, woah, something smells so good in here; what's going on, " Carrillo said with a smile and chuckle. 

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Rohena agreed and said they also ask if they have traditional Puerto Rican food and said the answer is always yes. 

While there are lots of authentic items on the menu, they said the menu is a reminder of home for many.

"Our heritage goes a long way, and we don't lose it just because we're in a different country," Rohena said. 

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They said it's also a welcoming, family, and cultural experience for others.

"We are family-oriented, and we stay together; we take care of one another at times when we are most needed," said Carrillo. "So, that's one of the things that we do best. "

Decades in the business,  the community, and support keeps the restaurant going,  making this American dream a reality.

"I didn't know 20 years ago that I would be the owner of Aqui Me Quedo," said Rohena. "I've always dreamed of having my own business, but it's just a dream come true."

Aqui Me Quedo is located at 622 Park St. in Hartford.

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


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