We're Open: La Morada

A Mott Haven restaurant was able to reopen its doors during the pandemic by feeding people for free.
The mission at La Morada is to serve the community and despite tough times, the family behind the business remains committed to that cause.
“Our community has always been our priority over our profits,” says Yajaira Saavedra, La Morada co-owner.
Owners say community is the key ingredient that's kept La Morada cooking during the pandemic.
For more than 10 years, the family run restaurant on Willis Avenue has served up Mexican recipes, while serving as a safe space for those who are undocumented, until it was forced to shut down for a month when coronavirus hit New York City.
“We decided to apply for small grants and small grants, all of which we got rejected because of our status,” says Saavedra.
The community came together and donated tens of thousands of dollars, allowing La Morada to reopen in April, operating mainly as a soup kitchen.
La Morada gave away more than 1,000 meals a day to the city's most vulnerable during the pandemic's peak.
An effort that remains the main focus of the restaurant today.
“Whatever the funds are, that's the amount we use per week to buy produce and to pay our staff and provide stipends for transportation for many of our volunteers,” says Saavedra.
The menu is now available on delivery apps, which the owner hopes, creates more jobs in the neighborhood.
“We're going to continue making sure that the soup kitchen will continue surviving past the pandemic, because this help is long overdue in the South Bronx,” says Saavedra.