Ignite Awards 2024 Honoree: Melissa Morales-Mercado

Meet Melissa

Melissa opened her business in 2017, working hard to bring the best in Puerto Rican Cuisine to our WNY area in a classy, family-friendly environment.  In doing so she found it important to further support by hiring within the community and providing opportunities for her staff to grow.  She also provided an annual free thanksgiving dinner, on Thanksgiving day, open to the public looking to provide great food in a safe environment off the streets on that day for those that may need it.  Melissa’s business, like all restaurants, struggled during Covid to keep doors open, ultimately needing to close the doors in September of 2021.  She was invited on 2022 to re-open her business at a new location at 257 Virginia Street, and after many hurdles and never giving up, she was able to open her business again this past August of 2023 at the new location. 

Staying true to her love of the community, Melissa’s business is open, strong and goes beyond great food. She provides cultural events at her restaurant such as the “Parranda” where she brings in live local musicians to play Puerto Rican music and provide some of the customary Christmas Puerto Rican deserts.  Melissa has also provided catering to families who have lost loved ones at the restaurant as well.  Keeping her mind on growing, Melissa will be bringing new dishes to her business and looking to provide more opportunities for employment for others in the community. She has a long-term goal of setting up a scholarship program for her workers to help them continue their education and personal growth.

Congratulations to you Melissa for your vision, perseverance, and community support! 

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