Williamsburg’s Republic Latin Fusion (181 North 10th St.), a restaurant and bar that opened during the pandemic, focuses on the cultural and culinary diversity of Latin America with hints of Asian and Australian influences.

Greenpoint local Syed Hossain runs Republic Latin Fusion with Christian Almonte. Greenpointers spoke with Hossain about the restaurant’s difficult beginnings, Instagrammable cocktails, and how the unique mashup of a Latin, Asian, and Australian menu was born. 

Republic Latin Fusion’s entrance. Photo: Julia Moak

Greenpointers:  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you broke into the restaurant business.

Syed Hossain:  I was born in Queens, but my parents are from Bangladesh. After my parents’ divorce, my mother and I moved to Australia when I was 11. I visited New York when I was 20 and saw my dad for the first time in 11 years. He owned three restaurants called Tikka Indian Grill, with his wife Julie, who was a fantastic businesswoman, but they were old fashioned, with no advertising. I saw they were struggling. During that visit, I was finishing a degree in Australia in corporate law, but I moved to New York three months later to help. I wanted to save the restaurants. I rebuilt the website and taught myself how to serve and bus.

After that, I wanted to learn how to bartend because I wanted to open my own restaurant one day. I went for an interview at Tao Group and got hired on the spot. I told them I would be like a sponge and learn how they want me to do everything. I kept my word. I learned every aspect of their business. I taught myself how to bartend and started covering other bartending shifts. The bartender who taught me was named Christian Almonte who is now my business partner at Republic. I worked there for a bit until my dad opened a fourth location in Park Slope and I helped him, working two days there and four days at Tao. But then my dad’s health declined, so I went back to help him full time.


During the pandemic, we could not pay staff, like many restaurants, so we let all staff go to the busiest restaurant, which was the Williamsburg location of Tikka Indian Grill. I would drive to pick up staff and then to other restaurants and drive all groceries back to the Williamsburg location. We had to be careful how we did it, and we pretty much salvaged all of it. I also helped as a dishwasher and packer. It was crazy busy because we were one of only places open.

The interior of Republic Latin Fusion. Photo: Julia Moak

Greenpointers:  What led to the opening of Republic Latin Fusion?

Hossain: Christian did not have a job, so I offered him a job at my dad’s restaurants. We worked there while we hatched a plan to open our own restaurant together. We borrowed money from friends and family, and we had some saved up. We looked for spots and landed on Republic.

Christian is a Bronx-born American and has been in New York his whole life. He is the best bartender I have ever met. He is all about perfecting his craft and balancing ingredients and new ways to do things. I made the cocktails more fun and Instagrammable, but he did not love that. He would rather focus on quality and flavor.

Greenpointers:  Why is the presentation of the cocktails and food so important to you?

Hossain: We eat with our eyes. Hearing about something excites people, but seeing it excites them even more. The key word is experience. People are willing to travel for an experience.

Republic Latin Fusion’s Aztec cocktail. Photo: Julia Moak

Greenpointers:  The cocktails at Republic look like a work of art. Can you describe your favorite one?

Hossain: I love the cocktails in the teapots. I gave Christian the idea and he made it his own. My favorite bar in Sydney had a wall of hanging teapots. The bar closed during Covid, and I wanted to keep that memory alive. I put four teapots on the menu, and my favorite is the Aztec, which has Midori and reminds me of my friends. We added Red Bull and put lights in it, to make it even better than the original. 

Republic Latin Fusion’s La Pasion cocktail. Photo: Julia Moak

Greenpointers:  Republic serves a fusion of Latin cuisines with some Asian additions. This is such a unique mashup. What led to it?

Hossain: My sister is half Mexican and half Bengali, which is a unique mix. Through her and my stepmom, I have family that is Mexican. So I opened with Latin fusion because of this. Christian is Dominican and Colombian, so it made sense.

My favorite food is Asian food. If I could open another restaurant, that’s what I would do. But I thought this was right. 

When I grew up in Australia, I did not know much about Latin food except Mexican. When I came back, I tried Peruvian, Venezuelan, Argentinian, and Brazilian food, and it opened my eyes. It was a culture shock. 

When opening Republic, I wanted to make the base Peruvian and build on top of that with different Latino cuisine. I wanted Republic to be a place where you can experience different Latino cultures. I want people to be able to go to another country and find a jumping off point. 

Republic Latin Fusion’s lamb chops. Photo: Julia Moak

Greenpointers:  What dish would you recommend to first time visitors?

Hossain:  I try to sneak in Indian or Bengali ingredients and Australian ingredients into as many dishes as I can. 

The chicken skewers is my dish. It’s a chicken skewer marinated in peri peri seasoning. It’s like a pintxo. This dish has the most fusion out of any dish at Republic. It has Indian corn masala, peri peri, adobo, Brazilian rice, raita from India, and Peruvian salsa verde. It also has corn ribs, which is very Mexican. This one dish is the perfect blend of fusion at Republic. You are not going to find that anywhere else.

Republic Latin Fusion’s Peruvian fried rice with mariscos. Photo: Julia Moak

Greenpointers:  What was it to open a restaurant during the pandemic?

Hossain: When we signed the lease, we had to separate the building in half. Our half only had a small exit door, and there was no real entrance.

We also had to build our own kitchen. We financed a lot of gas equipment. It all showed up one day. We hooked it up and found out there was no gas. We found out that because our hot water had not been turned on, the Building Department turned off the gas. It took one year to restart the gas.

Because we cut the building in half, we did not have a sink, only gas lines. The dishwashing area was in the other half, so we had to build everything. 

Greenpointers: Why did you choose to open Republic Latin Fusion in the North Brooklyn neighborhood?

Hossain: I love this neighborhood. My dad’s restaurant is here, so it’s where I did deliveries and drove around.

Republic Latin Fusion’s Mami Lychee cocktail. Photo: Julia Moak

Greenpointers:  What are your favorite spots in North Brooklyn to eat when you’re not working?

Hossain:  I love my dad’s Tikka, of course, plus Hole in the Wall, Gran Torino, Antica Pesa, Forma, and Fandi Mata.

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