Joshua and Andrea Pantoja of hotpanada, a 汉密尔顿-based food truck. (Facebook的 photo.)

汉密尔顿 has a hot new food truck: it’s hotpanada, serving up a surprising variety of empanadas with an international flair.

Andrea and Joshua Pantoja are the married couple behind hotpanada,当前能被发现星期五和星期六的下午,停在旧凯马特很多对白马大道。长时间汉密尔顿居民已经找到一种方法融入他们的技能创造一个成功的商业公式。

“在我们的婚姻,我们有句古话,”约书亚说。 “”我做做样子,她使得它味道不错。”她的背后是hotpanada的味道。我的妻子是为什么一切的味道尝起来的方式的原因。我喜欢使它看起来像样。我就是喜欢做的广告和设计的。”

Empanadas are a form of savory turnover popular throughout Latin America. Dough is stuffed with a filling like beef, chicken or vegetables, then sealed up and deep fried.

hotpanada has traditional empanadas on its menu, like the Beefenada, the Chickenada and the Bean & Cheeseanada. But that’s not all.

The Pantojas take things a step further by infusing the flavors of other cuisines into their menu. The Samosanada introduces some Pakistani flavor to the mix while the Bisonada includes some Middle Eastern flair. The Sausage & Peppernada offers an Italian twist on the empanada, the Spinach Fetanada brings the Greek, while the Eggrollanada, well — you get the idea.

Andrea loved to cook, and Joshua wanted to put his marketing training to good use in a business of his own.

They also sell bacalaítos (fried cod fritters) as well as sweet treats like flan, churros and fruit-filled puff pastries. They have relied mostly on social media to drive traffic so far — that and word of mouth.

“这个开始起飞像四月份火箭当我们开始,”约书亚说。 “两周后我们开始了卡车那里(在卡马特很多),我们知道,这是将要起飞。每个人都那么好,让我们诚实的,建设性的反馈意见。我们的Facebook的以下是真正值得赞扬的,因为他们一直很支持“。

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汉密尔顿-based hotpanada food truck. (Facebook的 photo.)

Joshua and Andrea were employed full time in other fields when they began dreaming about starting up a food truck.

约书亚,谁去特伦顿中央高中就读于默瑟县社区学院平面设计,在零部件物流工作。安德烈(NEE桑切斯),谁从诺丁汉高中毕业,有她自己的清洗业务。

But they knew that they wanted to get into the food truck industry. Andrea loved to cook, and Joshua wanted to put his graphic design and marketing training to good use in a business of his own.

第一次来到卡车。他们购买了它从谁收到了它作为从该公司退休礼物,不知道该怎么做了前MAC工具驱动程序使用。翻新车成为爱的共享劳动。

“基本上我们不得不将其摧毁它的骨骼和构建它备份,”约书亚说。 “我有一个建筑背景的一点点,我告诉她,你知道的,一点咱们一点攒起来。任何时候,我们有一点点额外的节约,我们会放进卡车“。

Joshua did whatever work he could do himself. When the time came, he hired professionals to do electrical work and install a fire-suppression system. It took five years to get the truck service ready.

“Every time there was a holiday, it was what we worked on,” he says. “Over the years, people would say, ‘How’s the truck coming along?’ The community was so supportive, because they knew the story.”

In 2017, when they were finally ready, the Pantojas launched their business — as Arepa Express.

“Our line was 20, 30 people just waiting for empanadas. We were like, ‘ok, we have to regroup and rebrand.’”

arepas与像奶酪或牛肉馅料酿玉米面面团的委内瑞拉主食,再经烘烤或油炸。安德烈从小就学习从她的母亲和祖母做饭委内瑞拉特色菜,arepas是什么,她和约书亚作为字幕菜为他们的卡车解决。

但AREPA快递从来没有真正起飞。 “它只是没有为我们工作了,”约书亚承认。 “这不是因为他们不好。人谁了他们会告诉我们他们是很好的。它更多的是人们不知道的是AREPA什么“。

Also on the Arepa Express menu were Puerto Rico-style empanadas, a nod to Joshua’s heritage. And what they found was that the more familiar empanadas sold better than the arepas.

They kept going with Arepa Express, but eventually it became clear that something needed to change if they were to reach the level of success they wanted.

“我们在一个节日一天,还有一个[汽车]有没有卖什么,但馅饼,他们的线是零,”约书亚说。 “和我们的线是20,30人只是在等待我们的卡车为我们的馅饼。是的,我们都喜欢,这些东西一个'OK,我们必须重整旗鼓,品牌重塑。”

So they went back to the drawing board, reimagining the business as an empanada truck. Andrea set to work developing her recipes, while Joshua focused on the brand.

“我们坐在了桌子说,“好吧,什么样的馅饼的,我们应该做?牛肉馅饼,让我们把它叫做beefanada。好吧,让我们把鸡一个chickenada”,并从那里走到shrimpanada和samosanada和breakfastanada。”

Empanadas from the hotpanada food truck. (Facebook的 photo.)

安德烈曾经工作过的巴基斯坦家庭,在那里她学到了很多的巴基斯坦,印度和中东地区的烹饪技术。 “我在我的组合委内瑞拉拉丁语词根与中东和印度风味,以使[这些美食]的融合,”她说。

At first, the pair focused on hotpanada as a catering business. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and Andrea was unable to maintain her cleaning business because of the lockdown.

Needing the income, in April they decided to take the truck to the old Kmart lot Fridays from 11 to 4 and Saturdays from 2 to 5. Monday through Thursday they prep their ingredients in a commissary kitchen.

The response so far has been everything they had hoped for. Customers have increased 15% since April, and Andrea says every time they post that they are open on Facebook的 and Instagram, they get 70 to 100 sales.

“covid-19确实是一个糟糕的情况,但businesswise它只是给了我们额外的推动,我们需要的只是把我们的产品推向世界,让群众试试吧,”约书亚说。 “因为我们的情况,很多人谁也不会停止之前,他们现在看到我们的卡车,他们停下来,看看它是什么。”

“The pandemic is something terrible that has happened all over the world,” Andrea adds. “But it also opened this door for us.”

And this time it’s not just the empanadas that customers love. The bacalaítos — Puerto Rican cod fritters — have been so popular they have had to prepare more of the batter each week.

同样甜点粉扑糕点。 “一开始我并没有做很多和他们卖了,”安德烈说。 “你,除非你去纽瓦克伊丽莎白还是,那里有更多的哥伦比亚人和古巴人没有找到他们。所以人们就像他们着迷“。

They also sell beverages, including the popular mint lemonade and pineapple ginger drink.

Mobility is of course a built-in advantage of a food truck, but Joshua says hotpanada will stay put for now.

“我们对此很机动,但现在我们正在一点一点地把它,”他说。 “全乡已打开这些门为我们(让他们在很多工作),我们只是希望能够使这项工作之前,首先我们另辟蹊径。”

他们最近获得了年度许可普林斯顿工作。 “我们一直渴望去普林斯顿,但普林斯顿是我们必须确保我们接近它的正确方法的地方,”约书亚说。 “但我们肯定想另辟蹊径。”

hotpanada, 1087 Whitehorse Ave., 汉密尔顿. Web: hotpanada.com. Phone: (609) 273-1001. Catering available.