Founded in 1868, La Nacional – Spanish Benevolent Society is the oldest Spanish cultural institution in the United States. Since its doors first opened, the Society has helped tens of thousands of Spanish immigrants find a home away from home by providing food, shelter, healthcare and a supportive network of friends and family. The neighbourhood, surrounding West 14th Street, became known as Little Spain.
During the early 20th century, La Nacional was a crucial and dynamic part of the social and professional lives of Spaniards living in New York and now, it continues to be a vital part of the community. While the number of immigrants has dwindled, the Society remains committed to its mission, “to promote, encourage and spread the spirit of fraternity and solidarity among Spanish and Hispanic-American residents of this country”.
La Nacional Restaurant, officially the cantina of the Spanish Benevolent Society, was created to be inclusive and to appeal to the wide array of people who call La Nacional their second home. This classic haunt has been feeding Spaniards and Latin Americans in New York since the 19th century from a historical brownstone in the heart of what was Little Spain. Now, with the building having undergone a facelift and the non-profit reaching out to a new generation of members, it was time for the restaurant to follow suit.
In celebration of our 150th anniversary, La Nacional – Spanish Benevolent Society for the first time in decades, is taking back control of the space, in an effort to create a community restaurant and gathering place open to everyone. Our non-profit has teamed up with some of the top culinary institutes in Spain – sponsoring the visas of the country’s best chefs to manage and create in our kitchen. In their dishes, they draw inspiration from La Nacional’s past and combine it with their own contemporary style and techniques, making La Nacional Restaurant a culinary epicentre for Spanish food.
At La Nacional Restaurant we will offer diners quality food, reasonable prices and neighbourhood atmosphere for all to enjoy. It will be the catalyst for significant cultural and community immersion that reflects the Society’s mission in the contemporary era.
See you soon!