GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In Grand Rapids, a city that prides itself on beer, it can be hard to stand out in the crowd, but for the last three and a half years, Edwin Collazo has been building a name for himself as owner of City Built Brewing.
“I just thought the culture was really interesting. The culture of beer,” Collazo said.
He added his Puerto Rican heritage to that culture, giving people in Grand Rapids a taste of what it’s all about. At his storefront along Monroe Avenue near downtown, he serves up craft beers and Puerto Rican-inspired food influenced by multiple Latin cultures.
“I’m realizing now as we get into it, its ‘sorta-Rican.’ I made it up. ‘Sorta-Rican’ is somebody else made it up and I’m totally stealing it,” Collazo laughed.
While customers may overlook the Puerto Rican roots in Collazo’s tacos and brews, he hopes they don’t miss the hospitality.
“That’s why City Built is here: to kind of share our culture and what it means to be in a Puerto Rican spot, like what hospitality looks like. For us to love on our people in our space, that was the point,” Collazo said.
That begins, he said, with his employees.
“I wanted to develop culture that I thought was positive and uplifting, so this is part of it, is to create a space where we first loved on the people who work for us and with us, helping us get to what we want to do and getting them to buy into what we’re trying to do for our city,” Collazo said.