BY EMILY LINCKE
3 DISHES TO TRY
Mofongo Camarones ($17): Fried and mashed green plantains are mixed with olive oil, garlic butter sauce and pork cracklings, and topped with shrimp and garlic sauce.
Caribbean Red Snapper (market price): Seasoned red snapper is served with plantains and veggies. (Photos by Emily Lincke/Community Impact)
Chicharròn de Pollo ($14): Dominican-style fried chicken is served with vegetables, rice and beans.
Punta Cana Caribbean Restaurant Local eatery shares generations of culture with Willowbrook community A t Punta Cana Caribbean Restaurant, the food is made with fresh ingredients and follows recipes passed down for genera- Punta Cana also serves drinks like mojitos, margari- tas and Presidente, a Dominican beer.
Co-owners Julissa Gonzalez and Jarlis Lugo run Punta Cana, a restaurant that serves Carribean cuisine, including Dominican, Puerto Rican and Cuban dishes.
Gonzalez said she and Lugo have invested many hours of hard work into their restaurant over the years, often waiting tables, bartending or cooking if they were short on sta. Punta Cana was one of the rst Dominican restaurants in Houston, Gonzalez said, so she and other members of the local Dominican community have always found the restaurant inspirational. The couple hopes to open a second location in the near future, Lugo said. Lugo and Gonzalez said they take pride in the fact that Punta Cana’s menu is cooked by a Dominican chef, Enerio Castro, who is 76 years old. Other sta, including host Esteban Marte who has been working at the restaurant for more than a decade, also help cultivate an inviting environment for customers. “I think our customer service … plays a huge part of who we are,” Gonzalez said. “As Dominicans, we’re very inviting and homey. We treat you as family.”
tions, Co-owner Jarlis Lugo said. “If you love doing something, you do it with your heart,” Lugo said. “I used to work 16 hours a day for the rst three, four years, and I was working with love … and that’s why the food and everything comes [out] so nice and good. Because we do it with love.” With his brother, Lugo founded Punta Cana in 2011 after moving to Houston from New Jersey, where he grew up. Since 2020, Lugo has been running the restaurant with Manager and Co-owner Julissa Gonzalez, who is also Lugo’s girlfriend. The Willowbrook-area restaurant serves traditional Dominican dishes, and some of the recipes were cooked by Lugo’s grandmother in the 1950s. Punta Cana also oers Puerto Rican and Cuban meals. Staples on the menu include mondongo—a seasoned tripe stew—and mofongo—a dish made with green plantains, pork cracklings and garlic butter.
Punta Cana Caribbean Restaurant 17776 Hwy. 249, Ste. 21, Houston 281-894-0960 www.puntacanatx.com Hours: Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Mon.
Certificate of Deposit 4.50 % APY *
LIMITED TIME! Ends March 23 rd , 2023 amerantbank.com/digitalcd-promo
15-Month CD $10,000 minimum balance
*Terms & Conditions apply
CYFAIR EDITION • MARCH 2023
Powered by FlippingBook