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Popular vegan Puerto Rican catering business set to open restaurant location in Oakland

Popular vegan Puerto Rican catering business set to open restaurant location in Oakland
Photo Credit: Casa Borinqueña/Instagram
By Wesley Severson - Published on March 29, 2022.

A catering business that is known to be the Bay Area’s only vegan Puerto Rican food operation will soon open a brick-and-mortar location in North Oakland. Casa Borinqueña will be setting up shop inside a small, 750-square-foot space at 6211 Shattuck Avenue near the intersection with 62nd Street. Owner Lourdes Marquez-Nau launched her Puerto Rican food business about 4 years ago and she slowly built up loyal clients through her catered offerings and various pop-up restaurants. 


Photo Credit: Casa Borinqueña/Instagram

 

Marquez-Nau started eating vegan food herself at the start of the pandemic. At the time, Eater SF reported that “The turning point came when Marquez-Nau stopped eating meat herself, mainly out of health considerations. Both of her parents had had Alzheimer’s-related health problems, and she started thinking about making a diet and lifestyle change, one she eventually felt she had to apply to her business as well.”

Since Puerto Rican cuisine is largely meat-based, the move to switch to vegan-only options was pretty controversial within the local Puerto Rican community. “I got a lot of backlash, especially from people in my community, because Puerto Rican dishes are based a lot on pork. They kept telling me there’s absolutely no way it’s going to fly,” Marquez-Nau told the SF Chronicle. The business was able to take hold thanks to the support of local vegans.

Lourdes Marquez-Nau will be expanding on her catering and pop-up menus but will still rely on her customer’s favorites including “pastelillo, a fried, empanada-like turnover filled with vegan Impossible meat, or a deep-fried plantain stuffed with pulled OmniPork, faux pork made from shiitake mushrooms, soy, and rice,” reports SF Chronicle. 


Photo Credit: Casa Borinqueña/Instagram

 

Casa Borinqueña will also feature a vegan burger that is made with Impossible patties, mofongo, and a fried plantain bun. Marquez-Nau is no stranger to vegan burgers. Her son, Darren Preston, owns the popular plant-based Oakland restaurant Malibu Burgers. We can also expect to see breakfast items. According to the SF Chronicle, Marquez-Nau will serve "Puerto Rican coffee and mallorca, a soft roll dusted with powdered sugar.” Mallorca will also be used to create a savory and sweet breakfast sandwich.