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Pride Month: Amilinda serves Spanish, Portuguese food and offers a seat for everyone

Owner Gregory Leon shares his experiences as a chef and a member of the LGBTQ community in Milwaukee.
Amilinda
Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 21, 2023

MILWAUKEE — Between Milwaukee and Broadway sits Amilinda, a Spanish-Portuguese restaurant owned by Gregory Leon.

"I learned and discovered that food and cooking is something that you can use to bring people together," says Gregory Leon, an award-winning chef in Milwaukee.

Bringing people together is what Gregory has been doing from the beginning. But two years into running Amilinda, Gregory added something new to his menu.

"I was a little apprehensive at the beginning when we opened the restaurant to categorize it as an LGBTQ-owned restaurant," says Gregory.

Those worries quickly melted away like butter.

"I have to say I've had a fantastic experience. I've never felt like people were coming after me because I was a member of that [LGBTQ] community. Milwaukee has been amazing to us," says Gregory.

The city's acceptance gave Gregory an opportunity to serve great meals and create a place where everyone knew they had a seat at the table.

"It happens all the time, where people come in, and they are like we wanted to come in and eat at a place where we feel safe. That's very heartwarming to us, and it makes us very happy that we've created an environment for people to be able to be who they are," says Gregory.

Photographs of his family hang along the walls of Amilinda as Gregory admits he's been more fortunate than others.

"I came out to my aunt Amy first at a restaurant. I told my grandparents at home around the dinner table. I told my father in the kitchen. I'm very lucky that I have an amazing family that has been extremely supportive," says Gregory.

Grateful for his family's love, he knows for others, relationships have broken. Gregory also knows that food can be used to heal souls. As long as kindness is the main ingredient.

Watch the full story at Amilinda in the video at the top of this article.


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