A ceviche after a day at the beach, a chicken broth to ward off the cold, a bread with chicharrón – with sweet potato and salsa criolla, of course – for Sunday breakfast, or any other Peruvian stew, served in a foreign country, shortens the distance and takes the diner to the home they long to return to.
Under this premise, the brothers Mario and Giuseppe Lanzone – who, a couple of decades ago, left their neighborhood in La Punta to go in search of the American dream – decided to open Peruvian Brothers. A Peruvian food business that began on four wheels, in a food truck around the streets of Washington D.C., and ended up becoming one of the most outstanding Peruvian gastronomy ventures in that state.
Peruvian Brothers was born about seven years ago. They were seduced by a very Peruvian desire to eat butifarras (sausages) similar to those they ate with their parents in their neighborhood of Callao. So they decided to satisfy their craving and turn it into a business opportunity.
At that time, the food truck boom was in full swing, and they quickly sniffed out the opportunity. They equipped a vehicle and supplied it with a menu inspired by Mario's culinary skills. His brother Giuseppe, an athlete by profession, became more involved in the administrative side. In the beginning, they say, it was not easy, but everything that is done with perseverance and passion yields great results. This is exactly what happened.
Little by little, his incomparable butifarras and his glasses of chicha morada, a drink that has captured the attention and the palate of Americans, began to sell like hot cakes. With a lot of effort, that first cart multiplied and gradually dominated the main arteries of the city that is home to the White House.
They grew in popularity so much that in a short time they opened a catering company, and in 2019, they managed to open their first physical store in none other than La Cosecha, located in the Union Market District, a famous contemporary Latin American market.
“Peruvian Brothers has been looking for a place to open a permanent location. When we heard that a Latin American market was being built, we thought it was the perfect choice. Our goal has always been to expand our culture through food and what better place than a Latin American market. Our food truck will continue to serve the streets of D.C., Virginia and Maryland. Peruvian Brothers is going to have three food trucks, a catering company and the stand at La Cosecha,” the brothers said some time ago.
Making Peru proud
The initiative of these two brothers has been applauded by the Peruvian government, and for this reason, they were granted the title of official ambassadors of Marca Perú. The Peruvian Ambassador to the United States classified Peruvian Brothers as Gastro-Diplomats, thanks to the support they provide to Peruvian development.
Some time ago, the brand began to sell an exclusive line of rocoto hot sauce in the foreign market, which comes with small chullo hats designed by Peruvian craftswomen.
2020, the year of reinvention
The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has forced thousands of entrepreneurs to reinvent themselves so as to not disappear. These young entrepreneurs have been no exception. The food trucks have had to be put away and their stand in the Union Market District has had to turn off its lights temporarily.
However, this has not prevented Mario and Giuseppe from continuing their production. Under rigorous health measures, they have managed to set up The Stand, one of their headquarters, to operate solely and exclusively through delivery (a system that, while the global health crisis lasts, will be one of the only alternatives for food businesses to continue operating).
Their commitment to society has been remarkable during this emergency period. Recently, they delivered food to health personnel who, as in Peru, are on the front line of the battle against the new coronavirus. This goes to show that wherever there is a Peruvian in the world, there will always be a supportive heart ready to lend a hand.
Sources: Peruvian Brothers/ Bing/ Biz Journal/ AARP