Merengue, Grove Hall
Merengue was founded in 1994 by Hector Piña. He landed in the business by accident when he knew somebody selling a restaurant in Roxbury. He wanted to bring his culture to Boston through food. Merengue was named after the popular Dominican music and dance style. The purpose of the restaurant is to cater to the Latin community, so they will be reminded of their culture when they arrive.
Five years after opening, Merengue moved to a bigger building in 1999. Shortly after, in 2000, they began serving the Boston Red Sox. Five years later, they opened their second restaurant, Vejigantes. This restaurant serves Puerto Rican food because the co-owner, Nivia, is from there. They opened their third restaurant, Doña Habana, in 2016. They chose Cuban food because they share some of the same flavors from the Caribbean. In 2017, they opened La Fabrica, a club and restaurant in Cambridge, but they sold it in 2020 to spend more time with their children. Their three restaurants continue to be successful, and they plan to open a fourth soon.
Merengue was an abandoned warehouse before it was turned into one of the first restaurants in the Roxbury area. It is important to the Latin community because it reminds them of home through Caribbean food and cultural decor. It has been a local landmark for over 20 years. They have a wall of photos of famous people who have visited, such as David Ortiz and other baseball players. They also have a special event space called the Sofia Room, named after the club where Hector and Nivia met. This is why the business is important to the Latin community and Roxbury area.