Ocean blue partitions, tin ceilings, tile flooring, and a profusion of reside greenery make Little Sister really feel like a espresso store you may discover tucked between the retailers and bars of Santurce, San Juan’s vibrant artistic district. As a substitute, it sits on the nook of Hope Road and Rochambeau Avenue, not removed from Brown College in Providence, Rhode Island. The purpose at this café, in line with Milena Pagán, its proprietor and head chef, is to fill a hole in a historically white space, and supply a style of the Caribbean in her adopted residence. Right here each ingredient of the welcoming vibe is by design, she says.
Pagán by no means deliberate to open a restaurant—not to mention two. However in 2016 the MIT-trained chemical engineer from Caguas, south of San Juan, ditched a profitable company consulting profession to open Rebelle Artisan Bagels in Providence along with her co-owner and husband, Darcy Coleman. “My supervisor stated, ‘You’re loopy quitting with out something lined up,’” she remembers. “I used to be like, ‘Simply watch me do it.’”
In 2020 she and her workforce had been again with Little Sister, an all-day Puerto Rican–impressed café. Whereas most of the metropolis’s Latin eating places cluster alongside Broad Road, a traditionally Hispanic neighborhood, Little Sister is staking its declare in Providence’s school district.
The café could also be impressed by ones in Puerto Rico, nevertheless it’s additionally obtained its personal taste. The main target right here is on ultra-fresh dishes, like shiny ceviche with pineapple, cucumber, and leche de tigre, and tostones topped with duck confit, or roasted cauliflower with Romesco sauce.
Though Little Sister is beloved by many locals, it has been a particular hit among the many rising Latino group in the town, which, as of 2020, makes up 44 % of the whole inhabitants. “I’ve discovered that Puerto Ricans have needed to create a place for themselves in the Providence group, as there have been none beforehand,” says Lydia Perez, founding father of the Puerto Rican Institute for Arts and Advocacy in Providence. Usually, she provides, it’s Puerto Ricans “who present companies to different Puerto Ricans.”