We are part of The Trust Project
Taste of Home in Aquí en el Campo, in Patillas

Their most popular dish is the stuffed mofongo, which can be stuffed with shrimp, conch, churrasco, chicken breast, fried grouper or chicken, and carne frita

April 19, 2024 - 11:00 PM

Yanira Fonseca and Alex Díaz, owners of the restaurant. (XAVIER GARCIA)

Lee la historia en español aquí.

Patillas.- Countryside flavor and making customers feel at home are the main focus in Aquí en el Campo restaurant, a chinchorro (small roadside food business) located in the Marín Bajo barrio of Patillas that has captivated the palates of all its visitors.

“Aquí en el Campo feels like when you visited your relatives in the countryside, and they would always try to please you. Everything is prepared on the spot; if you order a mofongo, I will start frying the plantains right away. I don’t like reheated food, it doesn’t taste the same. Nothing like eating it fresh out the kitchen. What we are looking for is for people to come do something different, eat, and feel good,” said Alex Díaz, owner of the restaurant that opened its doors in May 2018.

Initially, the business offered breakfast and fried foods, but they diversified their menu. This was not in their plans, but turned out to be a success.

“At first we thought it was going to be a very small operation and that we were only going to have a chinchorreo-type menu, but with breakfast, because there was a school nearby. The school closed on that same month of May, however. When that happened, we designed a chinchorreo-type menu because of the area we are in, which is the countryside. Also, the previous tenant used to sell fried food, carne frita, and beers. But ever since we started, the locals have supported us overwhelmingly. We didn’t know it would be as well received as it has been,” said Yanira Fonseca, Díaz’s wife and the restaurant’s manager.

Lobster with mashed cassava. 
Lobster with mashed cassava.  (XAVIER GARCIA)

Although Aquí en el Campo maintains its chinchorreo menu, featuring pastelillos (fried turnovers), chicharrones (fried, breaded pork or chicken chunks), carne frita and other fried foods, it also stands out for its famous “lío de lechón” (suckling pig bundle), which is the star of the menu.

“This is apastelado rice, which is wrapped in a banana leaf that is softened in fire. We put the suckling pig on top of the rice, and then we wrap it. We also make it with carne frita, chicken or grouper chicharrón, wings and churrasco. People get creative, they order it in many ways and we please them,” said Díaz, who along with his brother Héctor Méndez, are the chefs of the restaurant.

The name and technique of this popular dish refers to “to roll or wrap something” and was born in honor of Díaz’s mother, Marisabel Méndez, who used banana leaves to bring food to workers in the area. “My dad was a farmer, like most of the neighbors, and, since you can’t use machinery on these lands, you have to do it by plowing with oxen and by hand. So, they would get together, that is, they would group together and help each other. My mother, when she brought them food, did not have enough plates for everyone and decided one day to serve the rice with a leaf and then tie it with a dried banana leaf, and sent it to the people. Then it became popular, and people used to ask her not to serve them food in plates, but in the leaf bundles. That’s where the name came from,” recalled the owner, who started making the “lío de lechón” without knowing it would be a success.

Shrimp mofongo. 
Shrimp mofongo.  (XAVIER GARCIA)

“I had a grill here and I decided to make the bundles. People took pictures, they posted them on social media, and that first weekend, not a single one of the surrounding banana trees had any leaves. Thus, the “lío” became the house specialty,” said Díaz. The “lío de lechón” has been, in fact, a “lío” (mess) since its invention, since it was originally a dish made only on Sundays, but it has moved on to become the most popular dish on the menu. “We used to make a roast suckling pig on Sundays for the “líos” and to sell by the pound, but people started ordering the “líos” more and more, so we decided to do the suckling pig Thursday to Sunday,” Fonseca explained.

Stuffed mofongos are another of the most requested dishes at Aquí en el Campo. They are stuffed with shrimp, conch, churrasco, chicken breast, fried grouper or chicken, and carne frita. They also serve the famous bandejas de surtidos (fried appetizer trays), which make great finger food, but are also very filling, as they come with rice, wings, carne frita, fried grouper and chicken chicharrones, tostones (fried plantains), and mofongo balls. In addition, they offer seafood salad, lobster, stuffed arepas, hamburgers, loaded fries and, on Saturdays, they serve salmorejo de jueyes (crab stew). Their dessert offerings are aligned with life in the countryside. Among the options is the pigeon pea flan, with a unique texture, in addition to the house dessert.

“It’s a moist cake, inspired by tres leches, but it’s not tres leches,” said Fonseca, who noted that the most popular drinks at the place are the piña colada and the passionfruit and coconut mojitos. “We’re here in the countryside ready to welcome everyone. You’ll find great flavor, dedicated service, and a nice family atmosphere, served by us, the owners. If you give us the opportunity to serve you, I know you will not regret it. You’ll have a great culinary experience,” said Díaz.

Aquí en el Campo is located in barrio Marín Bajo, Patillas.
Aquí en el Campo is located in barrio Marín Bajo, Patillas. (XAVIER GARCIA)

The business is open Thursday through Sunday: Thursday (10:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.), Friday and Saturday (10:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.) and Sunday (10:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.). Aquí en el Campo has a DJ and karaoke every Friday, and on Sundays they alternate DJ with karaoke and live music. For more details, you can visit the business’s Facebook page: Aquí en el Campo, or call 939-290-7753.

Popular en la Comunidad


Nuestro sitio no es visible desde este navegador.

Te invitamos a descargar cualquiera de estos navegadores para ver nuestras noticias: