Georgina Local Cuisine Serves Caribbean Flavors with a Hint of Bacardi History

Georgina Local Cuisine Serves Caribbean Flavors with a Hint of Bacardi History

In June 2015, Bacardi launched its first foray into the world of gastronomy with the opening of Georgina Cocina Local, or Georgina Local Cuisine. Located at the Casa BACARDÍ Visitor Center in Cataño, Puerto Rico, the restaurant offers a new way for visitors to experience Bacardi history and culture. Focusing on local ingredients and flavors with a BACARDÍ rum twist, Georgina Local Cuisine serves innovative Caribbean fare in a modern casual atmosphere that enhances the overall experience at Casa BACARDÍ Visitor Center.

The Food

Georgina Local Cuisine specializes in Caribbean fusion dishes that combine the traditional tastes of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Its menu features the creations of Hedwill Martinez and Carlos Pimentel, both accomplished chefs with extensive experience in the Puerto Rican culinary scene. For over 15 years, Chef Martinez has worked with such noteworthy local chefs as Roberto Treviño and Ariel Rodriguez at eateries including Rosa Mexicano, Augustos, and Casa Lola. Chef Pimentel, who holds a degree in culinary arts and hotel management, has amassed 12 years of culinary experience both in Puerto Rico and abroad.

Chefs Martinez and Pimentel have developed a menu that uses BACARDÍ rum to put a unique spin on many classic Caribbean specialties that feature traditional ingredients like masa, avocado, and plantain. Georgina’s appetizer menu offers delectable previews such as Arepas de Coco with Beef Criollo Guiso, a combination of corned beef, Amarillo, and local masa flavored with coco and anise. Guests can also start their meals with one of several other appetizers, including Pollo Frito, Georgina’s signature chicken wings glazed with a mango BACARDÍ sauce; or Calamares Pork Chicharrón, calamari rings topped with chicharrón dust and served with a black BACARDÍ aioli.

For entrees, Georgina offers salads, sandwiches, and multiple varieties of ceviche, including Atun Tiradito, which features BACARDÍ ponzu sauce, avocado, onion, crispy rice, and cilantro. Included in the restaurant’s selection of Caribbean-inspired specialty entrees are mofongo, a goat cheese and spinach-stuffed chicken breast, and fresh fish options. Guests will taste a hint of BACARDÍ in specialty dishes such as L’Chón, a pork dish with batata al mojo and BACARDÍ 8 sauce; and El Churrasco, a skirt steak served a caballo style with mamposteao and a tomato and onion salsa.

Georgina’s BACARDÍ-infused flavors even extend to its dessert menu, which features treats such as Cake+Piña+Coco, a rum cake served with piña glaze and crema de coco; and Lemon+Guava+Vainilla, a bread-lemon pudding with BACARDÍ rum guava sauce and vanilla ice cream.

The Location

Bacardi Plant
Bacardi Production Plant, Puerto Rico. Image courtesy Nate Hughes on Flickr

Georgina is located on the Bacardi Corporation campus in Cataño, Puerto Rico, just across the bay from the capital of San Juan. Dubbed the Cathedral of Rum by Puerto Rican governor Luis Muñoz Marín in 1958, the complex rests on 127 picturesque acres of lush greenery and scenic coastal views of the Bahía de San Juan.

Bacardi’s premium rum distillery in Cataño is the largest in the world, producing 100,000 liters of rum each day. The Cataño campus also includes the Casa BACARDÍ Visitor Center, a recipient of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Since opening its doors in 1961, the visitor center has become the second most popular tourist attraction in the San Juan area, welcoming over 250,000 guests each year. Travelers from around the world visit the facility to learn about the history and production of Bacardi rum and explore a legacy dating back to 1862.

As part of the Casa BACARDÍ Visitor Center, Georgina fills the 2,400-square-foot space next to the Cataño campus’ iconic bat pavilion. The restaurant is open daily.

Behind the Name

The name of Bacardi’s new eatery honors Georgina, a loyal Bacardi employee who began serving the family in the late 1800s as a cook for founder Facundo Bacardi Massó. Georgina worked for the family for more than three decades, eventually serving as a maid in the home of Facundo’s eldest son, Emilio Bacardi. Emilio famously praised Georgina in his book Hacia Tierras Viejas, in which, after discussing his travels around the world, he notes that no city’s coffee had compared to Georgina’s. But Georgina was truly invaluable to the Bacardi family for more than just her culinary skill: she also assisted Emilio in the fight for Cuban independence.

In May 1896, a police unit led by the Santiago chief of police arrived at the home of Emilio and his wife, Elvira, to search for clues that might point to their involvement in the rebellion. Upon receiving word that the police were on their way, Emilio and his family rushed to hide any clues of subversive activity—including several coded letters penned by Emilio and intended for various fellow rebels. Georgina volunteered to hide the incriminating documents, calmly offering to get the letters out of the house herself. Elvira suggested that they place the letters under the hat of her and Emilio’s baby daughter, who was resting in Georgina’s arms, while the couple’s older daughter, Maria, tucked the remaining papers in Georgina’s blouse. Thanks to Georgina’s loyalty, the family finished hiding the letters just in time to hear the police unit knocking at the door.

Georgina’s efforts helped conceal Emilio’s revolutionary activities from Spanish authorities and likely saved him from execution. Bacardi continues to honor her quick thinking and dedication with Georgina Local Cuisine, and Georgina’s picture remains on display at the Casa BACARDÍ Visitor Center near a recreation of Don Emilio’s desk.