The Bears will recognize Garifuna Flava Restaurant as their third Small Business All-Pros Gameday Eats Edition winner presented by Visa from Nov. 8-Dec 11. Garifuna Flava will be prominently showcased across all Bears communications and promotion platforms. Among the other selected winners for the 2023 Small Business All-Pros Gameday Eats edition are: Ketapanen Kitchen (Sept. 6-Oct. 3), Egg Rolls Etc. (Oct. 4-Oct. 30), and Triple Crown (Dec. 13-Jan. 8). With a monthly rollout of four total winners, these small business foodie establishments will be available to fans throughout the 2023 season.
Garifuna Flava, a family-owned restaurant established by Rhodel and Yolanda Castillo in 2008, specializes in Belizean cuisine, featuring a unique blend of Caribbean, Latin and indigenous Garifuna flavors. Named after the Garifuna people from Belize, the restaurant currently stands as the only restaurant of its kind in Chicago, offering customers an exclusive insight into their culture and its cuisine. Some of their popular menu items feature Panades, Conch Fritters, Belizean Stew Chicken, Red Snapper, Fried Ripe Plantains, Belizean Potato Salad, Conch Soup and more!
"We are located in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood in the heart of Chicago's Southwest side. From the visuals of Dangriga Belize on our walls, to the cultural music playing from our tiny towns in Belize, to our unique cuisine, we try to provide a cultural and educational experience for our customers," said co-owner Rhodel Castillo. "We are proud to say that 15 years after our doors first opened, so many more people are familiar with Belize, and many of our customers have now taken trips to Belize to visit due to their experience with us. We have opened their eyes to a part of the world they never knew."
Beyond the restaurant, Rhodel and Yolanda Castillo have served as advocates for Belizean education, Garifuna events, and cultural awareness in Chicago since their arrival from Belize in mid-1980s. Garifuna Flava been involved in providing resources and educational opportunities in the Chicago Lawn and Marquette Park community. They have provided assistance with food donations to non-profit organizations such as My Block, My Hood, My City, Free Root Operation, Southwest Operating Project and others. The restaurant has also hosted events for numerous non-profit groups and has conducted a range of culinary arts programs for elementary, high schools and universities as part of their cultural outreach program.
In line with their commitment to cultural awareness, Garifuna Flava has participated in various educational programs with local colleges and universities, including the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, DePaul University and Northeastern University, where they've educated students about Garifuna music, daily life, cuisine and cultural challenges at the family's restaurant. The restaurant has become a central hub not only for the Garifuna community in Chicago and the United States but also for fellow Belizeans and their local neighbors from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.
The Garifuna people, with a global population of approximately 500,000 people, are Afro-indigenous descendants from the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent, known for their historical resistance against slavery in the 16th century. Today, the Garifuna people primarily reside in coastal communities along the Caribbean Sea in Central American countries such as Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Additionally, the Garifuna people in Belize celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day annually on Nov. 19, which stands as one of the most significant holidays in the country. This day marks the arrival of the Garifuna people on the shores of Belize on Nov. 19, 1832.To learn more about Garifuna Flava's offerings and their culture, please visit garifunaflava.net.