Americans may love the cuisine that comes to us from south of the border, but many of them don’t stop to consider the breadth of the different cuisines available to us. While Mexican food in and of itself isn’t a monolithic entity, it is relatively well represented throughout the cities of America.
Food from the rest of Central America, however, often gets overlooked. That’s why this intrepid couple, Vanessa Palazio and Adam Schneider, has decided to bring Nicaraguan food to Bushwick.
The restaurant, Chicha Cafetín and Cocktails, was inspired by Palazio’s Nicaraguan heritage, but the owners wanted to bring a modern twist to the dishes from her childhood.
Before opening a fully fledged restaurant, the couple first tried out a pop-up shop that served only the Nicaraguan street food quesillo, which consists of a thick, corn tortilla topped with cheese. “When we ended the pop-up we were convinced that Brooklyn was ready to explore Nicaraguan cuisine,” Palazio explained to Food & Wine.
“A lot more people have traveled down to Nicaragua whether it is to surf, explore the beaches and volcanoes, or roam the colonial cities, and they end up loving the food. They then return craving gallo pinto, salpicon, quesillo, and baho.”
Palazio has recognized the need for an excellent Nicaraguan restaurant in New York, especially given the amount of representation cuisine from the rest of Latin America already has. With an avant-garde presentation, Chicha Cafetín and Cocktails puts an extensive amount of care into the dishes they serve, including hand stretching the cheese they use to top their quesillos.
Of course, the restaurant wouldn’t be complete with a slate of excellent cocktails, as demonstrated by their name. Most of the drinks are rum-based, which pair well with the dishes they’re serving up in their quiet little corner of Bushwick.