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