Fire causes temporary closure for North Philly’s Latin American cuisine staple, Tierra Colombiana
The fire took place Sunday night, July 9, with the closing expecting to last at least a few days.
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On Sunday, Tierra Colombiana caught fire amid severe storms that took place over the weekend.
According to reports from 6ABC, fire officials were called to the restaurant at around 8 p.m. Sunday after a person across the street from the restaurant saw a lightning strike and heard a loud “boom” shortly before she smelled something burning.
There is no official confirmation whether the fire was indeed caused by lightning as of this writing.
No injuries were reported.
As a result of the fire, Tierra Colombiana announced on Monday that it will be temporarily closed for repairs.
Earlier today, a Facebook post from the restaurant read in part, “Thanks to our community for the overwhelming support. Due to the fire and some repairs, we estimate the restaurant will be closed until Wednesday, July 12.”
Tierra Colombiana has been a staple of North 5th Street — in the heart of North Philadelphia’s Hispanic community — since 1989.
Its owner, Jorge Mosquera, first moved the restaurant to its current location with a menu featuring primarily Colombian and Cuban dishes.
However, after taking trips to various other Latin American countries, he’s strived to bring new flavors and concepts with him to make it part of Tierra Colombiana’s menu.
Today, Tierra Colombiana features a robust menu of traditional dishes and flavors from all across Latin America and the Caribbean, subsequently making it one of the most popular Latin American restaurants in Philadelphia.
In addition to its status as one of the most popular restaurants, Tierra Colombiana also doubles as a nightclub.
The longevity and multilevel success of Tierra Colombiana is a credit to Mosquera, an example of the grit, determination and entrepreneurial spirit that many immigrants bring to Philadelphia, and the United States.
Mosquera was born and raised in a small town in southern Ecuador, before coming to Philadelphia at the age of 19.
His first year settling into a new country proved difficult. However, he didn’t let it deter him from making something out of the experience.
Initially, upon coming to Philadelphia his first job was at a shoe repair store in Center City.
However, when he heard that someone was selling their restaurant business to move back home to Colombia, Mosquera took the opportunity to learn as much as he could about owning a business and the restaurant industry.
Fast forward more than 30 years, and Mosquera has etched his name as among the premier Latino restaurant owners Philadelphia has. He is also the owner of a second Latin American cuisine restaurant, Mixto, in Center City.
Whether it's moving to a different country, starting a new entrepreneurial journey, or navigating a pandemic, Mosquera has shown a keen ability to overcome challenges.
The recent fire is just the latest challenge he will surely overcome.
Tierra Colombiana is located on 4535 N 5th Street in North Philadelphia.