I love local businesses and especially those that are the epitome of the American Dream – and the story behind Irazu Costa Rican food. located at 1865 N Milwaukee Ave in Bucktown is definitely that! In this episode, I have a chat with owner Henry Cerdas, and he shares the story of his parents starting the restaurant in 1990 as well as all of the ups and downs the business has endured over the years, and certainly including the last year with the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, Irazu was the recipient of Dave Portnoy’s Barstool Fund as well as quite a bit of media attention (rightfully so!), including a national Google print and video ad campaign among many others that helped them stay afloat. I hope you enjoy his inspiring story as much as I did!

In Henry Cerdas’ interview we discuss:

  • The history of Irazu – Henry’s parents leaving Costa Rica to pursue the American Dream and the steps that led to opening the restaurant in 1990
  • Where the name Irazu came from and why it proved to be a stumbling block and other challenges his parents overcame in the early days of the restaurant
  • What Costa Rican cuisine tastes like and what ingredients you can find in the restaurant’s dishes
  • A little bit of history about Costa Rica and what the slogan ‘Pura Vida’ is all about
  • His parents retiring in 2006 and Henry taking over the business and his thoughts about his son taking over when he retires
  • Challenges over the past year and being a recipient of the Barstool Fund in January 2021
  • Creating the Barstool Fund application video and getting the call from Dave Portnoy congratulating him
  • Details behind the Google national print and video ad campaign with Google featuring Irazu
  • Responding to the changing covid restrictions for restaurants
  • Henry’s shares his gratitude for all of the support during the pandemic

Henry’s Nominations:

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Irazu Costa Rican Food
1865 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252-5687