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Chef Treviño to open new eatery in Old San Juan inspired by former hotspot

Dragon by Treviño, a Latin fusion restaurant inspired by the once iconic Dragonfly on La Fortaleza Street, is slated to open in December.

Chef Roberto Treviño, known for his Latin Asian fusion cuisine, is returning to Puerto Rico with a new restaurant concept that will evoke one of his first eateries on the island.

In an exclusive interview with News is my Business, Treviño and business partner, restaurateur Abelardo Ruiz, confirmed the forthcoming opening of Dragon by Treviño, a Latin fusion restaurant inspired by the once iconic Dragonfly on La Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan. The restaurant was a favorite among locals and tourists alike from its opening in 2000 until its closure in 2018.

The new venture is part of the Aquivamos Restaurant Concepts portfolio and will be located up the hill on Cristo Street, in a two-story, 2,500-square-foot property owned by a real estate investment group that approached Ruiz and Treviño about the project, which entails a $700,000 investment. The opening is slated for Dec. 1, Ruiz said.

“When people think of Dragonfly, they think of the classics, and we’ll bring some of them back, like the pork dumplings, the lo mein with chicken chicharrón, and the fried calamari with onions, but the menu will also incorporate dishes representing what modern cuisine has become, not only in Puerto Rico, but in the world,” said Treviño, who has spent the last few years establishing restaurant concepts stateside, specifically in Orlando, where he opened Chicharron Grill in December 2022 and later sold his share to one of his partners in that venture.

“We’ve seen light-speed changes in kitchens, so you say to yourself, ‘How do I dare open a new restaurant bringing just the old stuff?’ We’ll bring back the classics, the things people who see me ask me about, but we’re coming back to Old San Juan to restart a culinary tradition,” said Treviño, a California native who first arrived to Puerto Rico in 1993 and quickly became one of its celebrated chefs thanks to well-received restaurants such as Budatai, a Latin-Asian concept; Casa Lola; Bar Gitano;, Pizza la Pasta; El Buda; Dragonfly; and his numerous Food Network appearances.

“Latin Asian fusion is what made way for me to do something exciting and unique, and we’re going to continue down that road,” he added. “We have a great synergy with [Ruiz] and the other partners involved in the project.”

The new locale will be “very chic: Champagne will flow, it will have two levels, private rooms, everything that Old San Juan allows you to do,” Treviño noted.

Reflecting on his absence from the island since 2017, Treviño remarked, “I don’t think I ever left. What physically brings me back? The love for the island, the love for the dining culture in Puerto Rico, because it’s something very special. I’ve been to many places in the world, but going out to the best restaurants to eat and drink and be among friends is something very special in Puerto Rico; it’s culturally part of what the island is.”

‘Coming back to be part of something exciting’
During the interview, Treviño acknowledged that the legacy of Puerto Rico’s chefs who set the foundation for modern cooking, combined with up-and-coming culinary experts setting the current scene, lured him back to “contribute and be part of something that exciting.” 

“You’re seeing the James Beard Awards finally coming to Puerto Rico, you’re seeing the Michelin stars talking about coming to Puerto Rico. It’s the perfect time because we did the work in La Fragua, Compostela, Chef Augusto [Schreiner], and I can go down the line — people who put their effort into making Puerto Rico into what it is today, so I had to come back and be part of it,” he explained.

“We have plans to do many things, and different things. Coming back to do Dragonfly is beautiful. It’s a dream come true for me, it brings back emotions that are difficult to put into words,” Treviño said.

Treviño and Ruiz, friends for more than 30 years, started collaborating on projects in Georgia and Arizona about a year ago, “and since we joined forces, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” Ruiz said.

“This opportunity came along, and we’re driving from Miami to Orlando, and I told [Roberto] I have a dream for this island that has been very good to us. So I think it’s time to bring something back that people are going to remember us by, and we leave our stamp. We cultivate and develop young, talented people who can keep this going for many years,” said Ruiz, who anticipates that the new restaurant will employ 40 to 50 people.

Treviño said he will be actively involved in scouting the talent, particularly in the kitchen, “and then once we’ve sort of honed their skills properly, we let them take over. I did that in all the restaurants in the past, and I think the trickle-down of the different chefs that we’ve had that influence on is showing today.”

“I’m going to look to hire talented young people who want something exciting in their lives and then hand it to them, literally let them run with it, because that’s ultimately the legacy,” the chef said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.


  1. Magda Rivera May 9, 2024

    WELCOME! !Good Luck !!

  2. Irma Cuebas May 9, 2024

    Me alegro muchísimo. Abe q bueno saber q estas pir aca . Cariños de parte de Chori (qepd) y mios recuerdos a tu esposa. Espero verte cuando abran! ÉXITOS!


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