Geneva Chamber names Business of the Month

Under the joint Business of the Month Program between the GenevaArea Chamber of Commerce and the Business Improvement District, the Chamber announced that El Morro Restaurant has been recognized as September’s Business of the Month honoree.Located at 284 Exchange Street in downtown Geneva, El Morro Restaurant offers an authentic Puerto Rican menu and opened in 2008 under the proud ownership of Rafael Diaz-Diaz. A native of Puerto Rico, Rafael first moved to the area in 2001 when a career change brought him to the Finger Lakes. Once established, he quickly became acclimated within the local community, encouraging him to further pursue his passion to open his own business. The restaurant’s unique story of how it came into existence is almost as unique as its namesake. The name “El Morro” refers to one of Puerto Rico’s most historical landmarks: the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, a 16th-century citadel, better known as El Morro. Originally built in the 1500s on the north-west tip of Old San Juan’s harbor, the small fortress only held a few men and four cannons. After many expansions and updates however, today El Morro occupies 70 acres as a World Historic Site, and features six levels that rise above sea level, with an iconic lighthouse at the top of its structure. Standing as a reminder of Puerto Rico’s rich history and heritage, the local restaurant is a similar testament to Rafael’s hard work and dedication.Prior to opening the restaurant, which was originally located in the lower level of the historic One Franklin Square building, Rafael began his culinary journey in 2006, operating a food truck in downtown Geneva. Still a major part of business today, the El Morro food truck can be found at many local festivals throughout the city, where locals can conveniently enjoy freshly-prepared Puerto Rican cuisine. Most recently, Rafael unveiled a third generation to his food truck business- a restored and converted school bus. Offering an all new experience to his customers, the newly customized space now boasts an expanded kitchen, as well as seating and dining aboard, and a sound system.When he’s not hard at work with his own businesses, Rafael is actively involved with a number of community projects and events. Passionate about his personal heritage, he enjoys teaching the local community about Puerto Rican culture and is also an avid gardener. Perhaps his most significant contribution, Raphael is also the founder of the local Latino Festival, held each year in June. Rafael is proud of his passion and persistent nature. “I’ve done most of the work to make this business successful on my own,” he commented. “I want people to see what I’m doing and believe that they can too, if they work hard enough,” he added. Similar to the inspiration behind his business name, Rafael too would like to plan on expansions, growth and updates for the future. “I’d like to it to grow into a chain,” he said, “maybe even open a type of club that you would see in Puerto Rico.”El Morro Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. For more information, on their menus, placing an order, or catering options, please call (315) 759-5295 orvisit their Facebook page: El Morro in Geneva. Menu copies and coupons are also available at the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce. The offices for the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce and the Geneva Business Improvement District are located within the historic One Franklin Square building in downtown Geneva. The Business of the Month Program is one of the key promotional efforts offered by the two organizations to provide exposure and awareness for Chamber members and local businesses within the BID district. The Chamber and the BID operate under a shared services arrangement that allows for the two offices to partner on programs and projects to better utilize the strengths and talents that each office provides, and to maximize the results for the members and partners of each within the city of Geneva and its surrounding area. The Business of the Month Program is one of the key promotional efforts offered by the two organizations to provide exposure and awareness for Chamber members and local businesses within the BID district.

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