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Porteñas – Empowered Immigrant Women Open Restaurant in Williamsburg

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By Emily Crain

Now more than ever it is important to support new local immigrant businesses. Porteñas is just that, a new, hip local restaurant opening up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – owned and operated by immigrant women. 

 Yerba Mate is for everyone - a group of friends enjoys this traditional, all-natural Argentine drink that has many health benefits and keeps you energized all day. Porteñas will be the first-ever Mate Bar in Brooklyn.

Yerba Mate is for everyone - a group of friends enjoys this traditional, all-natural Argentine drink that has many health benefits and keeps you energized all day. Porteñas will be the first-ever Mate Bar in Brooklyn.

Carmen Ferreyra is now a Brooklyn local after immigrating to the United States 18 years ago. Longtime friend, Fernanda Tabares, is the co-founder and chef. Their Kickstarter campaign hopes to get funded to open their first restaurant in Williamsburg this Fall.

Their mission is to empower female immigrant workers. This is evident at all levels – their store manager Lucía Méndez is a Mexican immigrant who has lived in Brooklyn for 20 years. And they even will be hiring an all-female staff, including waitresses and bike delivery services.

The concept is community. And the food highlights two of South America’s “best-loved treats” – yerba mate, a coffee alternative that stimulates throughout the day, and empanadas

 Empanadas are a perfect on-the-go dish, something all New Yorkers need. Porteñas will have vegetarian and meat-filled options, that can be picked up or dropped off by their all-female bicycle delivery team.

Empanadas are a perfect on-the-go dish, something all New Yorkers need. Porteñas will have vegetarian and meat-filled options, that can be picked up or dropped off by their all-female bicycle delivery team.

Chef Fernanda has been making empanadas and other Argentine treats for over 20 years – and after decades of experience, she has been running her own restaurant, Raíces, in Buenos Aires. 

Her partner, Carmen, is a true entrepreneur - she runs her own non-profit organization, Curatorial Program for Research, where they “create a socially-conscious network of emerging curators from around the world.”

The two together, along with their all-female, empowered immigrant staff are bringing a community-concept to Brooklyn at a time when we all need it – and you should back them. 

Porteñas has created a Kickstarter campaign. The Kickstarter is open until August 8th - check out their site, donate, and then head to Williamsburg for mate, empanadas and a safe space for all.