The first batches of Pisqueya were born in the heart of Brooklyn, from a Dominican family of cooks. Although being recently packaged and sold, the history of Pisqueya is a rich one, dating back to 1986.
In search of the American Dream, Maritza Abreu’s parents came to New York from the Dominican Republic, and worked tirelessly to open Puerto Viejo, a restaurant where Brooklynites could enjoy the flavors of Dominican cuisine. After 22 years of serving delicious, authentic food to the borderline neighborhoods of Prospect Heights and Crown Heights, the Abreu family lost their beloved restaurant due to a fire, taking Pisqueya with it.
The fire in a way turned out to be a blessing, a chance for growth – a chance to bring something even better to the loyal community that supported the Abreu family’s mission and commitment to create and share real foods and flavors, while advocating for authentic community.
A year and a half later, along with Puerto Viejo, Pisqueya emerged from the ashes to bring back the Latin flavors customers missed. And with time, it became evident to Maritza that there was something unique about their sauce. Why would customers ask for a second pour and extra to take home? The loyalty of the customers who returned to Puerto Viejo after being closed, expressing to the Abreu family how much they missed their food and flavor, is what inspired Maritza to bottle their sauce.
“I remember that first week we opened, an old customer came in, ordered his usual dish and asked ‘where’s the hot sauce?!’” Maritza recalls. “By ‘hot sauce,’ he meant the same homemade hot sauce we had been serving him for 22 years — clearly, we had something special.”
Amazed and humbled by the support of the community who didn’t forget them, she then made it her mission to share Pisqueya outside of its home. Now, three decades after the restaurant first opened, Maritza is the second-generation owner; and she’s bottling and selling the flavorful sauce. In the process, she’s come up with her own recipe, a milder take on the original. Both varieties are thoughtfully crafted for flavorful gatherings around any table.
Maritza personally oversees the creation of her handcrafted sauces, using only fresh and high quality ingredients, influenced by the natural way of her ancestors’ cooking. She sources her peppers directly from the farms in the Dominican Republic. For Maritza, this is more than a business venture “it’s a cultural contribution to the place that has fed my soul”.