Casa Borinquena

After successfully catering to the Bay Area since 2018, Casa Borinqueña, a vegan Puerto Rican catering business, dreamed of opening a brick-and-mortar facility. With a $130K, 0% interest FTHF loan, Lourdes and her son Wenlock rented a space in Oakland.

Contrary to the landlord’s assurances about the space’s readiness for a restaurant, Lourdes and Wenlock faced unexpected challenges. Their architect abandoned the project, revealing the need for significant electrical and plumbing renovations. Meanwhile, they had to bear the operating costs of rent and renovations during the prolonged inspection period. FTHF stepped in to advocate for Lourdes with the City of Oakland, expediting inspections with the Fire Department.

Complicating matters further, a sudden change in Health Department inspectors introduced new criteria for operating the space. Despite FTHF’s continued support through two additional loans, the project proved unfeasible after two rounds of corrective actions mandated by the Health Department.

Undeterred, Lourdes and her son decided to abandon the troubled space and began searching for new opportunities. They have now secured a concession in the newly opened food court within the New Downtown San Francisco Ikea store.