Frances Martinez, president and CEO of the North Shore Latino Business Association talks during the ribbon cutting ceremony of Caribe Restaurant in Peabody. Others in the photo are from left State Representative Thomas Walsh; association treasurer Rosa Feliz; NSLBC chairman of the board Alberto Calvo; Peabody Councilor-At-Large, Anne M. Manning-Martin ; Frances Martinez, Raquel Acosta and husband Celsio Acosta restaurant owners; Ward 3 Councilor James Moutsoulas and Nilsen Garcia, owner of Trios Mexican Grille, Lynn and Taso Nikolakopoulos, candidate for City Councilor in Lynn. (Photo Yadira Betances)

By Yadira Betances

Peabody, MA – With the snip of the giant scissors, Celsio and Raquel Acosta cut the red ribbon outside the doors of 80 Walnut St., officially opening Caribe Restaurant on Thursday, June 1st.

“I’m very happy and excited about today because it’s another milestone in our lives,” said Celso Acosta, who opened the restaurant with his wife, Raquel on April 27.

Celso Acosta is a native of Bonao in the central region of the Dominican Republic. He moved to the United States in 1983 settling in Bronx, New York where he opened his first restaurant called “Los Taxistas” Spanish for Taxi Drivers.

He owns a second restaurant in Lynn also called El Caribe.

On the menu at El Caribe dinners will find white rice, beans and chicken and a staple of Dominican cuisine.

Additional options include pastelitos (meat pies), sancocho, a Dominican style stew and yaroa, a casserole dish similar to chili cheese fries consisting of French fries, sweet plantains, chicken, beef, pork, loaded with cheese and topped with ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard.

What will undoubtedly be a favorite item on the menu is the ”Chimichurri” – a Dominican style burger with onion, tomatoes, cabbage laden with “chimi” sauce, which is a unique mixture of ketchup, orange juice, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce.

For the ribbon cutting, the Acostas were joined by members of the North Shore Latino Business Association, including its President and CEO Frances Martinez,Chairman of the board Alberto Calvo, Treasurer Rosa Feliz and Nilsen Garcia, owner of Trios Mexican Grille, Lynn.

Elected officials in attendance were State Representative Thomas Walsh, Peabody Councilor-at-large, Anne M. Manning-Martin, Ward 3 Councilor James Moutsoulas and Taso Nikolakopoulos, candidate for councilor-at-large in Peabody.

Moutsoulas who grew up around the corner from El Caribe, remembers when Walnut Street was dotted with Greek restaurants and cafes, followed by Portuguese business and now Hispanic entrepreneurs.

”This was the working man’s neighborhood and we want to bring life back. We want this area to thrive,” Moutsoulas said.

Helping businesses stay afloat is the goal of the North Shore Latino Business Association, said its President and CEO Frances Martinez.

Peabody has less than 50 Hispanic owned businesses and El Caribe Restaurant is the first grand opening hosted by the North Shore Latino Business Association, Martinez said.

”Hispanic businesses are growing by the minute, becoming a major player in the economy of this country,” Martinez said.

Alberto Calvo of Chelsea is Chairman of the board of the business association.

”I’m happy to see the growth of Latino businesses and the many services they offer,” Calvo said, adding that Hispanic business owners need marketing strategies to bring in non-Hispanic customers.

The North Shore Latino Business Association has more than 300 members who own a myriad of businesses, are professionals in many fields as well as community activists and residents. The association was founded in 2011 and have their own offices at 33 Sutton St., Lynn.

Members of NSLBA receive business counseling, marketing and promotional support, business educational workshops and informational sessions.

NSLBA executives also serve as business liaison to cities and town officials where members’ businesses are located including Boston, Chelsea, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lynn, Middleton, Peabody, Rockport, Salem, Swampscott and Woburn.

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