|Rafael Reilvitz De Leon, Karina Reilvitz, Emanuel Rivera, Anjelica Borja|
Rafael Reilvitz De Leon (Left) owns Antojo Latino near Oglethorpe Mall, a restaurant specializing in Colombian food. He is from Cali (Santiago de Cali), Colombia’s third largest city. Calle is in western Colombia.He owned a Pawn Shop there. “I have a paper, Student of Administration, on the wall for my parents. But I wanted something different. But, it closed down.” A conversation with his sister brought him to the U.S. to join her.
He left Colombia for Miami in 2000. “In Miami, everything is always open. You spend your money all the time. I never had money. Always you have something to do.” Rafael looked for a smaller city, some place he could live and reestablish himself. “I drove to Savannah, through the town.” He stopped at a locally owned car wash and found his first job.
Soon he had two jobs. When he finished his first shift at the carwash, at about 6:00pm, he went just south, down Abercorn Avenue. He found work at a steakhouse franchise.
Rafael worked in yacht manufacturing. Then he started his own painting company and a cleaning company. “The idea of a restaurant came when I was working in my cleaning company. Never before had I thought about a restaurant.” His wife had 20 years’ experience as a chef. She worked in the Ford Plantation. “I thought why not? I saved my money to build this restaurant.” He opened Antojo Latino in 2013.
Emanuel Rivera is the main chef. “We have a different menu on the truck than the restaurant. We need something good and fast. We want the food to have very little difference from Colombia. It is for all to enjoy. But we want there to be very little difference in someone from Colombia expects it to taste."
Barranquilla Carnival was held in Savannah, GA, April.2017