When Diana and Nick Salinas moved to Cape Coral from Miami two years ago and Nick started his plumbing job, Diana thought, “I want to do something.”
I remembered the recipes Nick had borrowed from his mother, Teresa, which he had been selling from 2008 to 2010.
When Nick transferred them to Dayana, the empanadas bai yo were born. Started in February 2020; And the global pandemic, lack of money and no food truck didn’t stop her.
“It’s very exciting to have a fresh start,” Diana said. “When we started, we put everything on Facebook Marketplace. We never thought it would grow so fast.”
Empanadas By Us can be found at farmers markets in Naples, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, and Port Charlotte, as well as three markets in Cape Coral on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
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They were making between 1,500 and 1,600 empanadas a week and that was before the season started. Parents and friends help with preparations and sales.
Dayana and her crew make seven different types of empanadas – regular chicken and spicy; Regular beef, spicy ham and cheese; Spinach, chicken and spinach.
When they participated in the Empanada Festival in Port Charlotte last February, they took home the award for Most Creative.
“This was so crazy,” Diana said. “We took 600 with us and sold out within three hours. Beef is a favorite of our customers. But when we ran out, people were still queuing for what we had.”
She remembers her first order of twenty empanadas. She had no money so she had to borrow $50 to buy supplies. Then they also started taking orders online.
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Empanadas By Us only remained closed in March 2020, during the pandemic.
Nick said they’re looking into adding recipes with an Italian flavor.
“There are so many different types of Dominican, Colombian, Argentinean pancakes,” he said.
On the road, Diana would like to have a restaurant. She preferred the Mid Cape because most of her clients are there. The biggest challenge is finding a store of the size you want at the price you want.
“I’m looking forward to this year,” she said. “It will be the best year ever.”
if you go
What: Empanadas by us
Local Markets: Surfside Sunshine Market 1-6 p.m. Tuesday; Cape Coral Farmer Market 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays; Mid Cape Farmer’s Market on Sundays from 10 AM to 2 PM
Facebook: Empanadas By Us & More
For more information: 305-742-9859