Buena Vibra, a new restaurant and bar specializing in Caribbean cuisine, is set to open in Chapel Hill on Feb. 9.
The restaurant is about bringing positive energy to the community — and its name translates to "good vibes" in Spanish, co-owner Jaime Reanos said.
The location on East Rosemary Street, which formerly housed Country Fried Duck, features a beach theme with vibrant colors, plant life and lighting.
“We are trying to bring something different to Chapel Hill,” Reanos said. “We want people coming over here to feel comfortable. Anybody can come in and relax with a drink or food.”
Co-owner Carla Solorzano, who is Reanos’ spouse, said she’s excited for the restaurant to finally open. She said Buena Vibra will feature an assortment of food, from empanadas to seafood dishes, from countries like Colombia and Venezuela.
“I know that Chapel Hill has a different culture," she said. "They like to try to know different cultures from other countries.”
Reanos said that while opening a restaurant is a lot of hard work with many sacrifice and sleepless nights, it’s a dream that both he and his wife believe in.
“This is important for us because when everything comes together, we’ll start to enjoy and be happy with it,” he said.
Both Solorzano and Reanos are from Honduras. The two knew each other as teenagers in high school and eventually married in 2003.
Living close to the beach in Honduras, Solorzano said she worked at a family restaurant and has a background cooking food.
Reanos said that while living in Honduras, he was a professional soccer player for Platense Futbol Club. He moved to the U.S. in 2004, where he worked in construction with his brother in Selma, N.C.
“We started with zero — different place, different work, but I have the motivation,” Reanos said. “If I work hard here, I change my life.”
Solorzano came to the U.S. from Honduras in 2006. She and Reanos lived in Selma for about 10 years before moving to Cary, where Reanos started his own construction business called JR Construction Install Services LLC. The family now resides in Holly Springs.
UNC junior Gabriela Duncan, who identifies as Latinx, said she’s excited for the opening of Buena Vibra.
“There is a pretty significant Latinx population here at UNC,” Duncan, whose family is from Colombia, said. “I feel like it’s going to be a really nice place where we can embrace our culture and listen to artists that come from where we come from.”
Marcela Torres-Cervantes, assistant director of the Carolina Latinx Center, said having Latinx businesses within Chapel Hill will expose people to more versions of what Latinx identity can be.
“I think having more opportunities to try food, cuisine and fusion is really exciting,” she said. “We’re hopeful to see what the menu will look like and if we can partner with them intentionally.”
Torres-Cervantes said, among the community, showing up and letting others know about what they enjoyed will expose Latinx-owned businesses and encourage people to try things that they wouldn’t have tried otherwise.
“Having a restaurant that will hopefully have more music, food and access is something we’re really looking forward to,” she said. “We’re excited overall.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of the article's photo caption and headline misspelled Buena Vibra's name. The article has been updated to reflect accurate spelling. The Daily Tar Heel regrets this error.
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