Hélder Sousa is the owner of a charming Portuguese restaurant, O Antigo Carteiro (The Old Postman), located along a beautiful strip of the Douro River in Lordelo do Ouro, Porto. As I mentioned earlier, he used to be a theatre-producer and used to frequent O Antigo Carteiro after performances. He told me how much he loved going there, that for him it was a place steeped with tradition, soul and character that when he heard it was going to shut down he decided to buy it. This, of course, is no easy task. Having worked on and off in the restaurant industry myself, I’ve seen restaurant owners with good intentions and great ideas but lacking the necessary zeal, vision and focus to keep their restaurants alive. But Hélder was (and is) determined to keep the spirit and soul alive of such an inspiring place. Since taking ownership he has gone through the ups-and-downs, the stresses and struggles of owning a restaurant and transforming it. But I believe he has succeeded. O Antigo Carteiro is a restaurant that celebrates the wonderful food of Portugal, which includes a diversity of dishes and ingredients that most people would shy away from. Among the things I tried there, I was blown away by the laminated cow’s tongue with lime marinade and the mount-watering tender oxtail. The food is exquisite, the dishes are beautifully decorated and the price is affordable. The atmosphere is relaxed, yet intimate and cozy. As Hélder explained to me, it is primarily a family restaurant where Portuguese can take pride in their traditional cuisine with basic and common ingredients. With that being said, Hélder takes great care to make sure all ingredients are locally sourced and organic, if possible. And with Sergio’s wine expertise he is developing and expanding the wine list to include top quality Portuguese wines. There are really no words to express my admiration for him and the road he’s taken. Restaurants come and go, but the ones that persist are those that have spirit and soul like Hélder’s O Antigo Carteiro. I wish him the best of luck.