News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

The Holden Arboretum

Akron General

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Social Issues




Jibaro parks on Cleveland's West Side and expands its food-truck fare
Mofongo, a Puerto Rican stew, is one of several Caribbean specialties at the pizzeria
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Courtesy of Vivian Goodman
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
You don’t have to run after a truck anymore for the playful Caribbean cuisine Elvis Serrano cooks up. His food truck still rolls, but now there’s a stationary location on Cleveland’s west side for Jibaro World Eats. And the chef now has new ways to honor his ancestry and showcase the traditional food he grew up with. For today’s Quick Bite, WKSU’s Vivian Goodman pulled into the new Jibaro Pit Stop Pizzeria.
pride and love for his native cuisine

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (5:12)


The restaurant at W. 140th and Madison Avenue is tiny with just a few tables and a pinball machine. But when the space opened up, food truck owner Elvis Serrano couldn’t pass up the chance.

We got to the point where we needed a location to grow our business. And it’s not just our expansion of the food truck. Now we’re dealing with pizza dough. We’re tossing pizza around which is fun, playing around with different specialty doughs. Right now, we’re doing pineapple dough.”  

Caribbean flavor embedded in the dough
Specialty pizza and calzones are a big new part of Serrano’s business, with exotic fruits mixed into the thin crust.

And it’s not just going to be pineapple;we’re going to do mango. Today, I’m going to play around with coconut, cream of coconut, and make dough out of it.”    

Serrano’s assistant, Mark Ritchie, gave up a 20-year career in IT last summer to work with Serrano on the food truck and helped him open the restaurant in late November.

 “It’s just a much more enjoyable line of work. And it’s a line of work that actually interests me. I actually care about the kind of food we’re trying to create.” 

Competition includes a former workplace
Jibaro Pit Stop Pizzeria faces competition. Serrano counts 17 pizza shops in Lakewood.

“Six months ago if you would have told me I would have ever had a pizza shop in Lakewood next to Angelo’s, next to Nunzio’s  and a lot of the big players -- actually Player’s is right down the street as well -- I would have been like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’” 

At Players, right down the street, Serrano used to wash dishes.

My culinary training actually started when I was a little kid. In Puerto Rico as a 5-year old, I wasn’t playing video games or playing on the internet. I was in a farm feeding the cows and pigs, helping my Grandma cook and I’ve always had a passion for it.

No degree but he does have ‘the nose’

He says he might have enjoyed attending culinary school.

“But a lot of friends that are chefs have told me, ‘You have the palate, the nose for it.’ And that’s really key.”  

So is his passion for straight-from-the-ground food. “So we’re going to grow our own tomatoes, our own organic greens, thyme, basil, oregano. ... right here in the backyard" in Lakewood. 

Serrano came by that planting urge naturally, growing up in Puerto Rico.

“I was born on Aguas Buenas, which signifies good water. That’s what it means. We were drinking water from the mountain streams. And cooking with it.”

Mofongo also known as Mangoo
Serrano serves a Caribbean specialty called Mofongo at Jibaro Pit Stop, as well as chorizo chili, yucca, and other exotic offerings. His Caribbean specialty pizzas come topped with pork, jerk chicken, rock shrimp and even oven-roasted duck.

But Mofongo is Serrano’s personal favorite. It’s loaded with carrots, onions and beef, and flavored with red wine vinegar and steak seasoning. He uses only bottled spring water and the hardest plantains he can find.

It’s actually one of the top-selling dishes or something that’s made in homes all across Puerto Rico, and it’s very popular in the Dominican Republic. They call it Mangoo.”  

Proud of his culture and his restaurant’s name
He calls his restaurant Jibaro because that’s what he calls himself. It’s a derogatory term to some Puerto Ricans, but Serrano likes the historical significance of Christopher Columbus having coined the term.

“He named Jibaro the indigenous Indians. Depending where you are, it does signify different things like a hillbilly. I’ll be honest. But for me that’s what it signifies, my family, my ancestors.”  

Jibaro’s Pit Stop Pizzeria in Lakewood is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. 

And that’s this week’s Quick Bite. Next week we’re headed to Akron for a food swap.

(Click image for larger view.)


Related Links & Resources
Jibaro website

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook






Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio becomes first in the nation to dump PARCC testing
Best test to use for elementary schools is the old pre common core Iowa test of basic skills. This test measures apples to apples and tests the skills appropri...

Ohio is moving forward with new standardized tests
Mr Chow, Nice piece on testing. Should not Ohio go to an open bid process for the new assessment contract? Ohio has stayed with a "connected" DC non-profit fo...

The Surpreme Court gay-marriage decision plays out in Ohio Amish country
Keep in mind that the majority of the people residing in Holmes County are Amish, a church people who do not vote because they do not believe in governmental ru...

Akron council committee recommends Forney for its opening
Which committee member voted for Wilhite?

Nearly a dozen Cuyahoga gay couples get licenses to marry after the Supreme Court ruling
Presiding Judge Anthony J. Russo a graduate of Chanel High School and supposed member of St. Francis Parish in Gates Mills has just excommunicated himself. As ...

Canton Youth Symphony is named orchestra of the year
This is what makes CSO the hippest small town orchestra in America!

What can be expected if Ohio's tobacco taxes increase?
let's face it! The increase has little to do with smoking cessation

Rare Cleveland Indians photo from 1911 hits the auction block
Paddy Livingston, who cut his teeth on a Louisville Slugger in Kent, Ohio was one of the immortals that played in that game. He was the catcher. Ty Cobb actuall...

Nexus denies Green's request to relocate its planned gas pipeline
These people have so much power. Too much. They could care less about the people they leave when it is done. Spectra does not, and admits, they do not do the...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University