WINDSOR HEIGHTS, Iowa — Recently reaching their first anniversary, Puerto Rico Restaurant in Windsor Heights has cause for celebration. “Yo soy Boriqua,” said head chef Elizabeth Torres proudly. Monica Torres owns the business and her family was born and raised in Puerto Rico including her sister and head chef Elizabeth. “It`s my birthplace and where I grew up, my childhood my school my family,” said Elizabeth.
Elation is taking a back seat as category one Hurricane Dorian was forecasted to carve through the Caribbean island Wednesday. “It does get kind of scary thinking about what might be happening again,” Elizabeth said.
Stress level is high as family still resides there but good news came when the National Hurricane Center believed Dorian’s path would shift east on its way to Florida. “Oh very happy because I know what I went through when I was in Maria,” said Angel Torres, the father of Monica and Elizabeth.
The news was great for Elizabeth and Angel who both came to Iowa soon after Hurricane Maria`s devastation in 2017. “Very bad. It destroyed all the houses. We were without water for six months and no light,” said Angel.
Elizabeth is working at the restaurant to save money to repair her Puerto Rican home which Maria rendered unlivable two years ago. Elizabeth said, “Basically working to get everything fixed over there and I`m like oh my God is it going to be worth it or is there going to be damage again? For now hopefully, cross your fingers everything will be ok.”
Mother Nature may have pushed the Torres family to Iowa but the food, flags, and family inside the restaurant make them feel at home. “We still have a piece of heart here. It`s the only thing you can see about Puerto Rico is this restaurant and it makes me glow and feel better and happy about it,” said Elizabeth.
Torrential rain will cause trouble for many Puerto Ricans still rebuilding. Elizabeth says one thing is for certain, they will persevere again. “We really are one based on everything we have been through. We are really proud of who we are and are really helpful and really happy,” said Elizabeth.
Hurricane Dorian could be as strong as a category three when it is expected to hit Florida over the weekend.