To fight the pandemic, a Brooklyn restaurant turned to tacos

Illustration by Claudia Chinyere Akole

Six days a week, Irene Castillo is in charge of bringing the flavors of the Mexican central state of Puebla to Brooklyn’s local hot spot, Jalapeño King. Respecting the culinary traditions of the women in her family, Castillo seasons the salsas, rice dishes, and stews, while her husband Rafael Eustaquio grills the meats for the tacos. Their 30-year-old son, Jonathan, attends the clientele and runs the social media accounts.

For two months, however, the family-run business had to close down due to the pandemic. Unlike many other businesses, Jalapeño King reopened in South Slope on May 15, and since then the Eustaquio Castillo family has joined a community-wide effort to tackle COVID-19 — and the systemic social inequities that have put…

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