BLOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — One woman saw a need for different cuisine options in the area, and she decided to do something about it.
“When we gather, this is like a snippet of what we would eat in Puerto Rico,” said Victoria Martinez owner of El Puerto De Las Empanadas.
Victoria Martinez and her family are proud Puerto Ricans. They moved to Pennsylvania from New Jersey when she was a kid.
As she grew up, she noticed that even though the area was booming as far as culture and diversity, it was lacking in Puerto Rican cuisine.
“We needed to be represented. It’s sad that we would have to travel an hour, two hours to get good Puerto Rican food and I said, you know what? We’re cooking this for our friends already, let’s do it! And so we started our own little business.”
It was a leap of faith starting a business at the height of the pandemic.
But now, one and a half years later, El Puerto De Las Empanadas has a prime spot at the Bloomsburg Fair.
“The community has been so welcoming and they love our food. It’s not just the community, I’ve always said this is our kitchen. Come and eat at our kitchen come and eat at our table. Be our empanada family,” said Martinez.
Family is everything when it comes to both business and culture.
“In any Latin culture, you will see you’ll find we are family-oriented so with family comes feeding and care. We take care of the ones we love and part of that care is food and good food nonetheless,” said Martinez.
Martinez and her family serve empanadas and other Puerto Rican specialties like mofongo and pastelon.
She’s doing much more than just serving food, she’s educating people about Puerto Rico.
She says she hopes each customer walks away with a new perspective.
“I would hope that people enjoy the food and that they’re curious enough to maybe one day take a trip to Puerto Rico. If anything, we’re bringing awareness to Puerto Rico as a whole, because we’re citizens. You know we’re Americans too,” explained Martinez.
You never know where El Puerto De Las Empanadas will be next so keep an eye on their Facebook to see when and where you can get a bite.