For the remainder of January, family-owned Venezuelan restaurant Casa Ora at 148 Meserole St. is launching a campaign, Mi Casa Es Tu Casa (Ora), which allows residents to dine in as a party of two and enjoy a free meal. According to Ivo Díaz, co-owner of the establishment, the free three-course prefix dinner is Casa Ora’s way of supporting the local community and waitstaff in the time of Covid-19.
Each day, Casa Ora will give away 60 free meals that feature a variety of empanadas, off-the-menu sopa de caraota with caramelized coconut milk, queso fresco and avocado, and pollo con arroz. The a la carte menu will also be available to order from, though it’s not necessary. Substitutions are considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on an individual’s food restrictions.
“We know there are a lot of food insecurities. Some people don’t have food to put on their table. There’s also Omicon and so many other things that are happening, so we’re trying to make it easier,” said Díaz in an interview with Bushwick Daily. “It’s a learning experience. It’s the first time we’re doing this. … Every week, we will try to improve on what we did wrong in the first week,” continued Díaz in reference to the issue of accessibility.
If all goes well, Díaz plans to extend the campaign until the end of winter to give people more of a chance to enjoy the experience if they were not able to in January. Other possible ideas include maximizing free meal offers to 80 a day instead of 60. Díaz also is considering the idea of allowing people to set up meal reservations at the restaurant so that they can either come pick their food up or have it delivered.
Uber Eats saw the post about the campaign at Resy and has reached out to Díaz, who is excited about the prospect of reaching even more people. Until Jan. 31, you can order through the app for a special buy one get one free promotion.
“I want to see people that are happy, not only the people who are coming to dine with us but also our staff,” said Díaz when asked about what he would like to see come from this campaign.
Casa Ora is inspired by family values. Díaz is the bar executive, his mother Isabelis Díaz is the executive chef, and his wife Rachel Díaz-Pirard is the pastry chef. The restaurant is also named after the couple’s daughter who will be turning four this year.
“We, as Venezuelans — I know that we are so good at being hospitable,” said Díaz. “I want to make people feel like they are at their grandma’s house. Whenever you come to Casa Ora, we want people to feel welcomed; we want people to feel at home. This is a piece of home here in Brooklyn. This is extremely personal to each one of us.”
According to Díaz, the staff has also been with them since Casa Ora’s opening in 2019, and it has been difficult seeing how Covid-19 has impacted their hours. Now, since the launch of the campaign, Casa Ora is seeing bookings and the staff is excited.
“Although it’s a little stressful, nothing makes me happier than what’s happening right now, like seeing how many people have reacted to this,” said Díaz. “That means we’re going to do more than 720 meals.”
“If you know somebody who needs a meal and you know that person does not have the means to have access to a computer, please book a reservation for them. Help them get a reservation. Help them access the same things you are accessing,” said Díaz.
Tickets can be booked for two at Casa Ora’s Resy page one week in advance. You can choose to dine indoors or at the restaurant’s outdoor heated tent.
If the Resy page indicates that the free meal tickets are sold out, click the box to be notified when tickets become available. You can also reach the restaurant by phone: (718) 223-3116.
All images provided by Allie Iliana Herrera unless otherwise specified.
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