The Hildebrandt Building, at 3619 Walton Ave. in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood, has always been about the meats. Originally established as a meat-processing plant in the late 1800s, the complex has experienced a renaissance over the past six years. After a period of heavy industrial use, the compound returned to its food-based roots focusing on startups like Wolf Boy Provisions, Five Star Brand Meats and Rising Star Coffee Roasters, while using its professional kitchen as a hub for renters, events and the surrounding community.
Pork & Cork, organized by the Hispanic Business Center, is the latest food-filled event to take place in the Hildebrandt courtyard. The benefit will take place this Saturday evening, a time normally occupied by food trucks pulling into the garage after a long day on the town. The Hildebrandt once again will embrace fresh meat and budding business for an evening filled with live Spanish guitar, wine, food and dancing.
"We loved the old brick and wanted to create a feel to Pork & Cork like you were on the streets of old San Juan," Jenice Contreras, executive director of HBC, says. "It's a phenomenal space because there is so much going on around business development. Our collaboration with the Hildebrandt has been going on for a long time, so they were a natural partner when we wanted to do something outdoors in a contained space."
The location also happens to be in the heart of the most densely populated Latino community in Ohio.
"In the Latino community, roasting a pig would be a thing that many people would do on a Saturday afternoon," Contreras explains. "The idea behind Pork & Cork was to move away from a lot of the traditional fundraising that you see in non-profits. We wanted to do something that was fun and less formal that would attract a broader market."
As the name suggests, pernil (pig) will be roasted on site and served with sides of chicharrones, arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas), and elote al carbon, corn grilled over fire topped with salt, pepper, chili powder, butter, mayonnaise or soft cheese. "It's a collective of volunteers who are sharing their culinary talents with us," Contreras says. "We want everything to be able to be cooked right on the flame outdoors."
Participating businesses include La Bamba Tortilleria, which will be helping make the traditionally Mexican roasted corn, and Latin Touch Salon. "It's really a labor of love from a multitude of different businesses and partners that we support, but at the same time they are getting together to make something they are good at and give back."
Elvis Serrano, of Jibaro World Eats food truck, will be working with Wine Trends to prepare a wine-pairing menu that features wines with Spanish origins.
"Every ethnic group has a heart in their tummies," Contreras laughs, but despite her joking demeanor, it couldn't be more true.
Tickets for the fundraising event are open to the public and can be purchased ($40-$75) through the Pork & Cork website (porkandcorkcle.com). There you can also learn more about the services and support offered by the Hispanic Business Center (hbcenter.org).