The Tastes of the Caribbean, The Wild Rican Opens in Batavia on May 20th
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The Tastes of the Caribbean, The Wild Rican Opens in Batavia on May 20th

by Lindsey M. Turrell

This year is full of firsts for Genesee County! We've opened our first brewery in over 100 years, our first 100% vegan restaurant opened up shop, and now we welcome our first Puerto Rican restaurant in Genesee County, The Wild Rican! The Wild Rican is bringing authentic and mouth-watering Caribbean flavors to our ever-growing county. We encourage you to stop in during their Grand Opening on May 20th from noon-9pm. Bring a friend or two, experience the classic Caribbean fare, and leave fully satisfied with the generous portions The Wild Rican provides- you'll be glad you did. The Wild Rican is the second FreshLAB winner and is housed inside of Eli Fish Brewing Company, at 109 East Main Street, Batavia. You might be wondering what makes Puerto Rican cuisine different from Mexican cuisine. Well, Mexican cuisine is known for the spice as they use a variety of peppers to make their food spicy. Puerto Rican’s pride themselves on the savory notes of onion, garlic, mild peppers, cilantro and recaito (which is a cousin of cilantro), in their cooking. These ingredients are the base to most of the traditional Puerto Rican dishes that, if you don’t already, you’ll grow to love. The roots of Puerto Rican cooking traditions come from the Taíno Indians, an indigenous people of the Caribbean, paired with Spanish and African influences.

Wild Rican Coming Soon ©MichelleFigueroa

Head chef, Victor Figueroa, has been cooking for over 20 years and boy, does it come through in his creations! You’ll taste the love in every bite as the dishes at The Wild Rican are homemade recipes he learned from his mother. The rice and beans recipe is amazing (speaking from experience), if you’re thinking about the Mexican style rice and beans, it’s not that. The beans are whole in a chunky sauce, made with tomato sauce, spices, and chunks of potatoes and pumpkin, that top white or yellow rice.

To accompany your rice and beans you can choose from traditional Puerto Rican Beef Stew, Pork, or Chicken to make the perfect savory entrée. The highly anticipated star though, is the deep fried empanada, or a pastelillo. These delicious, golden brown, addicting pockets of joy come in 3 varieties that fit right in to the Batavia food scene- Cheeseburger, Buffalo Chicken, and Pizza. The Cheeseburger Empanada is already a favorite but good luck trying to decide which dipping sauce to get with it. Choices include their homemade passion fruit chili sauce, homemade spicy sauce, or good ‘ole hot sauce. To be safe, just get all three sauces for your first Cheeseburger Empanada experience. The Buffalo Chicken comes with a side of blue cheese and for the Pizza Empanada (I mean, do you really need a dipping sauce for pizza? Because, come on, it’s PIZZA!), choose your favorite sauce for dipping.  Alright, I’m getting hungry so let’s move on and talk about the other delicious options at The Wild Rican.

The perfect side for your empanada might be the fried plantains, which are served with a special sauce, or pick from a whole list of sides like the potato salad, creamy cilantro coleslaw and more! The menu also includes several tasty sandwich and desert options. Trust me, you’ll want to try them all! Some other things you’ll find on the menu that might surprise and excite you are- Octopus Salad, Bacalao (salted dried codfish), and Snapper. These "catch of the Caribbean" dishes are only available Thursday- Saturday.

Wild Rican Empanadas & Fried Plantains ©MichelleFigueroa
Wild Rican Snapper Dinner ©MichelleFigueroa

The Wild Rican will feature a variety of specials including Mofongo, a traditional Caribbean dish of deep fried green plantains served with seafood or pork. Traditional homemade soups and stews will also appear in the specials from time to time. Another traditional meal that will be a part of the rotating specials, Bistec Encebollado, which consists of marinated steak and onions, a traditional steak dinner. Stop in for lunch or bring your family for dinner and always try something different, in order to try out all their other delicious and unique specials and regular menu items.

Wild Rican Dinner ©MichelleFigueroa

One of the best things about The Wild Rican might just be their determination to make their food affordable for everyone. They invite you to come as a stranger and leave as a part of the family. Their goal is to “bring people together” and we think they are off to the greatest start. Their regular hours will be Tuesday- Thursday 11am- 9pm, Friday & Saturday 11am- 11pm and Sunday they welcome you during dinner hours. Don’t forget to drop by for their grand opening on May 20th! You’ll want to stay for a while to enjoy the tasty food and the company of new friends!

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