BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A variety of flavors come together every day inside La Flor Bakery on Niagara Street.  It’s a family-owned business specializing in Puerto Rican cuisine like Pollo Asado (roasted chicken), Pernil (roasted pork), an assortment of rices and Pastelles which is a banana leaf filled with an assortment of meat and stuffing.

“It’s made out of green plantains, you can do it with pork, potatoes, olives, or chicken,” said Luis Sexto, who runs the business with his father.

“My dad came here at the age of 13 with my grandmother,” said Sexto. “My dad worked at a factory and he saved his money. We had a bakery on Forest Avenue, but we closed it down and then we came over here and opened this one up.”

Along with traditional Puerto Rican foods, they specialize in Hispanic baked pastries like flan which is a caramel custard and tres leche, which is cake covered in three types of milk, whipped cream, almonds and a cherry.

A few miles down the road, the Dominican flag hangs proudly inside La Casa De Sabores.  It’s a restaurant specializing in Dominican cuisine.

“Dominican cuisine is very similar to Puerto Ricans cuisine,” said Carlos Cabrera owner La Casa De Sabores. “It consists of a lot of rice, beans, and different meats.” 

They serve common Spanish specialties like Pernil and empanadas. They also carry traditional Dominican dishes like Mangu which is mashed plantains and sauteed red onion, Pollo Guisado which is a stew chicken and chimichurri.

“Chimichurri is also a very popular Dominican dish. It’s a sandwich with cabbage kind of cooked up a little bit, tomatoes, and beef, we season it, we put mayo ketchup and garlic sauce on top of it,” said Cabrera.

Cabrera was born and raised in Long Island. His parents came from the Dominican Republic and brought with them a love of Dominican Cuisine. Says cooking the cuisine is a family tradition. 

“My mom used to teach me how to cook, so basically I have my aunts here cooking,” he said. “They were born and raised there in the Dominican Republic. So, from a very small age, they were learning how to cook.”

Even though he loves the cuisine, becoming a restaurant owner in Buffalo wasn’t his first choice for a career. He graduated from Buffalo State College in 2017 with a degree in computer information systems.

Now, the Long-islander is now a full-time Buffalonian business owner. 

“I just decided it was something that was needed in the community, so I went ahead and opened a dominican restaurant right here by Buff State,” he said. “It makes it convenient for the students and the community.”

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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