NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s a first when it comes to the fight against COVID-19 in the five boroughs. In partnership with the city, a Bronx restaurant is offering vaccines on site.

At Boca Restaurant, owner Emmanuel Carela is dishing out his top menu item with a side of vaccine.

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“We have probably the most popular churrasco around,” Carela told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis on Wednesday.

While you visit the restaurant at East 188th Street and Webster Avenue this week, you can also get a shot.

“Personally, I’m a big believer in the vaccine. My employees are basically 100% vaccinated because I’ve been giving them the information they need,” Carela said.


Among the many reasons, he said he’s excited to have a mobile vaccine unit outside his restaurant. He said 26 people got vaccinated on Tuesday.

“Most of our customers are very familiar. They trust us, so that’s what we’re getting, some success to have the vaccine,” Carela said.

“We’re so excited because we’re the first in the country to do this and I think it’s gonna spread like wildfire,” said Arelia Taveras, executive director of the New York State Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Association.

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The organization said it reached out to the city with the idea, creating a partnership with New York Health + Hospitals and the Test & Trace Corps.

“We believe if we continue doing this we could probably get to that point where a lot of our customers and our communities are where the city wants it to be,” Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Association president Jeffrey Garcia said.

The move comes ahead of Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s mandate requiring proof of vaccination inside many places, including restaurants.

“We’re doing this in lieu of all those other drastic measures that are killing our Latino restaurant businesses and restaurant businesses, in general,” Taveras said.


Dr. Ted Long, the executive director of New York City Test & Trace, said vaccine incentives are working.

“We are seeing an uptick and people getting vaccinated and it is really encouraging,” Long said. “Initiatives like this where, again, we’re working with local businesses, local restaurants thinking creatively, to get every New Yorker vaccinated or today more important than ever before, the way that we defeat Delta is having enough New Yorkers get vaccinated so that it goes away once and for all.”

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The initiative will only take place at Boca Restaurant through Friday, but it won’t end there. DeAngelis was told you can expect to see it expand to other city restaurants next week.

Jenna DeAngelis