AL DÍA to recognize restaurateurs as assets to Philadelphia reopening
The AL DÍA Top Restaurateurs annual edition and the virtual event will bring to light one of the most important assets the first capital of the nation has for its recently announced reopening and plan for economic recovery.
The Philadelphia food and restaurant scene has long been one of the highlights in the City of Brotherly Love.
Beyond the city’s common historical food associations of cheesesteaks, pretzels, and water ice, the food scene in Philadelphia has expanded substantially over the past 3 decades, in a way that opens the door to make Philadelphia one of the most attractive city to visit this Summer.
Philadelphia has today over 6,000 dining establishments, commanding more restaurants per capita than New York City. A large number of them have been built by immigrants that have repopulated Philadelphia over the past 30 years.
“The Philadelphia restaurant scene has been quietly transformed by immigrants turned restaurant owners who have infused all the flavors of the world into our now vastly enriched cuisine, mixed today with the lavish gastronomy from dozens of countries from across the globe,” Hernán Guaracao, AL DÍA Founder and CEO, said in an Op-Ed piece on April 5.
Later this month, AL DÍA will be publishing an annual edition, in English and Spanish, dedicated to the economic and cultural contributions they are all making— avoiding the confinement of narrow labels such "Hispanic", "Black", "Asian", "European," "Jewish", or "Arab".
"They are not only narrow but narrow-minded", Guaracao said. "As leaders, we all should be exalting the exceptional cosmopolitan asset our hometown has assembled as a whole, instead of fracturing it again along the racial, and racist, undertone."
"As it was at the beginning of the Republic here, Philadelphia is the convening place", he said.
The dual-language publication will also be hosting a virtual event, in English, as yet another way to acknowledge the Philadelphia restaurateurs' contributions to our cultural diversity and also the struggling economy.
From European to Latino, from Indian to Asian, from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean and Middle and Far East, they are all today a multitude of cuisines that can be found throughout the city and has turned Philadelphia into a mecca for food enthusiasts.
This is due largely to the individual efforts done by immigrants who settled in Philadelphia over the past 3 decades and reversed the devastating population loss the city endured for 50 years that decimated by almost 40% the number of city's residents. A good number of these new residents, who came from all over the world, turned themselves into restaurateurs, or restaurant owners, making Philadelphia one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan urban centers on the East Coast.
The AL DÍA Top Restaurateurs edition and the virtual event will aim to provide "the overdue recognition of the diverse and multicultural men and women who had the determination to strike out on their own to sustain their families, fuel our economy and live the American Dream by becoming restaurateurs in our city," the media company announced on its event page.
AL DÍA has been documenting the existence of these entrepreneurs, writing and publishing their little-known stories for the past 3 years. Initially hosting them for live demonstrations in Independence Blue Cross LIVE center, on Market Street and 19th, next door to AL DIA's offices, and recently writing the individual stories of dozens of them scattered all across the city.
“Almost hidden in the narrow streets of our city, we have discovered dozens of them who, not surprisingly, using the resilience that only comes with the immigrant determination, figured out how to stay in business, jumping over the multiple hurdles of the shutdown, so devastating for business big and small,” Guaracao wrote in his Op-Ed piece.
According to the Philadelphia Department of Health, this is the location of the 6,000 dining establishments in Philadelphia now, making it a city with more restaurants per capita than New York City, as reported by BillyPenn.
The 2021 AL DIA Top Restaurateurs annual edition will come out on Wednesday, April 28, the same day the event will take place. Sponsorship and ticket information can be found here.