Harianys De Jesus says her mother, Johanna, has always wanted her own restaurant. 

Fourteen years ago, they came to South Dakota. As soon as she turned 15, Harianys began working to help reach her mother’s dream. 

“We literally had to save our money little by little by little,” she said. 

And all of their hard work paid off. 

“With a lot of help, we made it happen for her,” said Harianys. 

When the De Jesus pair opened the doors of La India Taina Puerto Rican Restaurant on March 3, more people than they could have imagined flooded in. 

As guests took a seat at the restaurant for the first time, they had a choice of seven appetizers. 

One of them is the Alcapurria de Yuca con Carne Molida o Jueyes, which is homemade green plantain dough with ground beef or crab. 

Another starter option that bridges into seafood is Pastelillo de Camarones, turnovers stuffed with shrimp. 

At La India Taina, the drink menu has a few tropical choices. One of the most popular is Parcha, passion fruit juice. Guava Piña, guava pineapple juice, and Agua De Avena, oat milk water, are not far behind. 

Piña Colada has been selling a lot, too,” explained Harianys. “Everybody loves Piña Colada.” 

But no matter what a guest orders, Harianys says that quality is much more important to her and her mother than speed. 

“We like to make sure all the flavor is there and all the taste is there, so we don’t want to give you anything that is just already made,” she said.

“cinnamon goes on top of {the tembleque} and the main ingredient is cocnut. It’s kind of like Jell-o but a little bit thicker and made with milk.” -Harianys de jesus

One of the dishes that Harianys expects to become a favorite is Mofongo Con Su Carne Preferencia, mashed plantain that is fried and served with a special sauce and one of four meats.

“The food is always going to be fresh. It’s all about patience. It might take a little longer, but it’s definitely going to be worth it,” she added.

Another entree that may give mofongo a run for its money is Arroz Con Gandules, Pernil Y Ensalada De Papa O Ensalada De Coditos. This translates to rice with loungers, roasted pork, and potato salad or elbow salad.

“A lot of people love Pernil because of the pig skin,” said Harianys. “The way we make it is really crunchy and delicious, so a lot of people love that part.”

That opening day was a lot for the first-time business owners to handle, to say the least. 

More On The Menu



Made with pork or chicken and topped with barbecue sauce. 

Sorullus de Maiz

Made with cornmeal and stuffed with cheese. 



Made with a choice of pork, chicken, or ham along with lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese, mayo-ketchup, potato stick, and dried bacon. 


Sopas De Fideo con Pollo

Noodle soup with chicken, garlic bread, and one side.


Papas Locas

Crazy fries, roasted pork, chicken, mayo-ketchup, nacho cheese, and dried bacon.

Pastelón con Arroz Blanco 

Sweet plantain lasagna with white rice.


Flan de queso

Cheesecake-esque dessert.


Coconut-based dessert sprinkled with cinnamon.

“TEAMWORK IS VERY Important, communication, and patience. Those three things are the main priority for a business in general.” -Harianys De Jesus

“The kitchen, this was their first time actually working together,” Harianys explained. “They are still learning their pace. There was a lot of hold time on their food.”

For the first couple days, the restaurant had to close early due to food supply shortages and more customers than the De Jesus duo planned for.

But you live and you learn.

“There’s more to learn every day,” said Harianys.

A few days after opening, she said, “For it being the third day, we have progressed so much just in three days.”

But both Harianys and Johanna are putting in as much effort as they can to make the restaurant everything they dream it to be.

One of the biggest featured artworks is a transportable mural of parrots, the Puerto Rican flag, and more painted by David Saldana-Rico.

“Me and my mom are here from morning until night. We’re not going to make people stay. We’re the owners so we’re making sure people get their food and our workers go home happy.” 

Harianys says she looks up to her mother for everything. 

“Everything I know is because of her. I’m 21 years young and in my 21 years, I know so much. I’m, like, 35,” she added with a laugh. 

Harianys says that her mother deserves this restaurant. 

“My mom is very hard working, independent, straightforward, open minded,” she said. “Everything about her screams Puerto Rican.” 

For more information, visit LAINDIATAINA.COM.

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