Welcome to Partner Provisions, where we introduce you to the incredible people and stories behind the restaurants, food trucks and caterers helping ZeroCater feed the workforce – breakfast, lunch, dinner and every meal in between.
- Name: Hussein Castillo
- Restaurant: Garifuna Flava, A Taste of Belize
- Cuisine: Caribbean, Belizean, Central American
- City: Chicago
- Website: garifunaflava.net
- Instagram Handle: @garifunaflava1
- Twitter Handle: @garifunaflava1
In one sentence tell us who Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize is.
Garifuna Flava is Chicago’s #1 Caribbean Experience, featuring a Taste of Belize. Named after the Garifuna (pronounced ga-RI-foo-nah) people, an ethnic group from the shores of Central America with quite an exceptional history, Garifuna Flava brings you the unique blend in Caribbean, Latin & indigenous Garifuna cuisine.
Tell us about Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize!
Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize is an exciting culinary and cultural experience on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Named after the Garifuna (pronounced ga-RI-foo-nah) people, an ethnic group from the shores of Central America with quite an exceptional history, Garifuna Flava brings you the unique blend in Caribbean, Latin & indigenous Garifuna cuisine. Since its inception, Garifuna Flava has come to be renowned by Chicagoans as the city’s BEST Caribbean cuisine for TEN consecutive years (Yelp.com), and has garnered praise on a host of local media and print’s “Best Of” and “Must Visit” lists. Garifuna Flava has also been featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives”, ABC7’s “Hungry Hound,” WTTW Chicago’s “Check, Please,” WGN’s “Chicago’s Best,” ABC7’s Windy City LIVE, and the “Taste of Chicago!” From our customer favorite Belizean style Panades (empanadas) to our #1 Rated spicy smoked style Jerk Chicken, to our one of a kind Hudut Baruru w/ Falumou, a delicious West African influenced coconut milk stew, there’s something for everyone at Garifuna Flava!
Tell us about one of your signature dishes!
One of our customer favorites, particularly in catering, has been our Jerk Chicken. It has become known as Chicago’s #1 Jerk Chicken, marinated with Caribbean spices and Chef Yolanda’s distinct seasonings, then slow cooked on our grill for a one of a kind taste. The smokiness and the complex seasonings with a bit of spice make it for one of those unforgettable-type dishes that keeps customers coming back for more. It goes perfectly with our coconut-milk based Rice & Beans and Fried Ripe Plantains! We have certain customers coming in 4 times a week for our jerk chicken!
What is one thing not many know about Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize?
Many don’t know that we have hosted events with The Obama Foundation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Members of the Belizean Government during our time in business!
What’s your favorite thing about feeding companies?
We enjoy the satisfaction companies get from trying something different and truly enjoying it. Most office lunches consist of soups, salads, pizza, and sandwiches, and we bring in something totally different that blows them away in terms of taste, portions, and quality. More often than not we are told by the company’s employees that we are their absolute favorite lunch.
What do you like most about partnering with ZeroCater?
Zerocater opened our business and cuisine to a whole new set of customers and clientele that would have never thought of trying us out or would think that we had the expertise to feed larger groups. We’ve catered for clients from downtown Chicago to throughout the suburban Chicagoland area, thanks to ZeroCater. The staff is great and super helpful with making things work as smooth as possible, so we can focus on what we do best, which is make great food and bring a unique experience to the office catering scene!
We believe food fosters community building. Tell us about a time where Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize brought people together or helped to foster community.
Since our inception, Garifuna Flava has always been open to the community. We have worked with various organizations in our area to help foster community events and meetings including LISC, Metropolitan Family Services, Greater Southwest Development, Southwest Organizing Project, IMAN (Inner City Muslim Action Network), Team Englewood, BYP100 and more. We also Community meeting with Alderman Toni Foulkes, Chicago Police Department and Mayor Rahm Emanuel (he LOVED the food btw). Our doors will continue to be open to helping our community however we can.
What is your biggest challenge as a restaurateur or chef?
The restaurant business is notoriously difficult, which is true and very real. Being creative and innovative in generating business is always a challenge even for the most experienced restaurants. Finding new ways to reach customers or getting them in the door is something we are always trying to figure out. ZeroCater has become one of our primary strategies in reaching new customers and expanding the reach of our cuisine, helping us keep our doors open and create loyal customers at the same time.
What piece of advice would you offer to someone starting out in the food industry?
Great question. One of the biggest things to keep in mind is to stay disciplined and realistic in the beginning, especially if you are opening your own restaurant. Expect things to be difficult at the start, but if you have a concise menu and realistic expectations to go with your great food, you will have a chance at making. There will be bumps and bruises, but consistency and quality always rise to the top.
Where do you see Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize in the future?
In the next few years, we hope to make Garifuna Flava a staple all around the Chicagoland area. Our customers tend to travel from great distances all over the city and suburbs to visit us, so we intend to expand to a few more locations around the area to meet their demand. We also hope to continue with the Taste of Chicago and a few other fantastic festivals in the area.
Anything else we forgot to ask?
Make sure to try us out as part of your next office lunch or dinner catering. We can feed 10 to 1000 persons, or more. Your staff will definitely be in for a treat!
Order for your office from Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize!