NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — In 1993, in bed with spinal meningitis and given 13 hours to live, Jesus Puerto reached out to Babalú Aye, or Saint Lazarus.
“So I made a promise to Saint Lazarus that I would do what I could to be good, do good deeds for you, you know, the rest of my life after coming through that near-death experience,” Puerto said.
On Easter Sunday, his fever broke.
Puerto’s life has been dedicated to service ever since. He has spent time in the Peace Corps, with Habitat for Humanity and worked with the United Nations.
His restaurant, Soul de Cuba Cafe in New Haven, gives back to the community. It recently opened a second location in South Norwalk and will be opening a site in Tampa.
The cafe’s family recipes, like mojo sauce, also are used to feed Hartford HealthCare patients.
“It’s my dream to be able to bring the sauce, because it’s all-natural and cooked with very low sodium, but high in flavor and high in nutritional value,” Puerto said. “So it’s our dream to bring it to colleges, universities. You know, major institutions.”
But while he’s excited to distribute his sauce, fan favorites on the menu are also its Cuban sandwiches and mojitos.
Watch the full interview to learn more!