Bruce Rivera brings Greer a taste of his cultural heritage

Rivera's artistic flair presents food in vibrant colors, textures and structures

Published on Thursday, July 26, 2012

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Bruce's plating of this tomato salad exhibits the vibrant colors and tasty appeal of the dish.

Courtesy Bruce and Lucinda Rivera

Bruce's plating of this tomato salad exhibits the vibrant colors and tasty appeal of the dish.



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Bruce's entrees are memorable, much like this ribeye steak.

Courtesy Bruce and Lucinda Rivera

Bruce's entrees are memorable, much like this ribeye steak.



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The desserts are delectable. This flan is perfectly produced to be the fitting finale on the dining experience at Rivera's.

Courtesy Bruce and Lucinda Rivera

The desserts are delectable. This flan is perfectly produced to be the fitting finale on the dining experience at Rivera's.



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Mark Tucker



Bruce and Lucinda Rivera, in 2008, followed their dream to open a restaurant that featured the food of Bruce’s Puerto Rican cultural heritage, and Greer was lucky enough to be the location they chose to build Rivera’s.

I’d go to Rivera’s just to look at the food. Bruce is an artist, designing gorgeous plates that catch your attention before you even take a bite. The colors, textures, and structures set the food apart as something special. Then when you bite into one of their burgers (Rivera’s burgers are famous), or taste a catch-of-the-day dish (they have fresh-caught seafood flown in from Miami and Hawaii), you experience flavors like you can’t find anywhere else.

Bruce brings his cultural heritage to the food he creates at Rivera’s. He was reared in Miami and influenced at an early age by his father, Sam, who was a Puerto Rican master pastry chef. (A photo of his father is on the wall at Rivera’s). Bruce apprenticed in Miami at the Hyatt, where he got his start in the culinary world.

He came to Greenville in the early 1980’s with the Hyatt, where he met Lucinda, his wife. Although they lived and worked in Tampa, Atlanta, and Charlotte, where Bruce was trained by Japanese and Italian chefs to add to his Latin experience, they eventually found their way back to Greenville in the late 1990’s.

They opened their first restaurant, Cafe Rivera, in downtown Greenville and occupied the space that is now Smoke on the Water. The Riveras chose Greer as their final location for the new restaurant, now called Rivera’s. “Bruce really wanted to get back to his Latin roots. He wanted to make the food he grew up with,” Lucinda said. “We call it Floridian, a combination of Miami, the Puerto Rican, the Latin.” That food has won Bruce several gold medals in a variety of food arts.

Bruce creates the food in collaboration with sous chef Karen Graves, who does the grill work. Everything is made in-house except for the Cuban bread, which is shipped from Miami. Rivera’s also features a full bar with Latin-inspired drinks. And they’re now doing wine tastings to highlight their international wines.

Lucinda said she’s happy they chose to settle in Greer. “We fell in love with Greer. We know most of our customers by name, what they drink, who their grandkids are. Our staff is like a family and we love being in Greer where everyone feels like friends.”

Rivera’s is at 117 E. Poinsett Street. Hours are lunch Tuesday-Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and dinner Tuesday through Saturday 5 -9:30 p.m. Call 877-9600 for reservations or information.

Rivera’s is planning a 5-year Anniversary celebration in January, so be sure to check their Facebook page for details at the beginning of 2013.

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