Celebrating Cuban-American Culture in Miami: Alec Fernandez and Vicky Carballo

Alec Fernandez, Cofounder & CEO & Vicky Carballo, Cofounder & Executive Chef, Dos Croquetas

This interview is part of a series celebrating Cuban-American business owners in Miami. For the full list, click here.

+ What does Miami mean to you and why is it so important?

  • Alec: I think for me it boils down to family, it’s all I know. 
  • Vicky: It’s a little melting pot of South America, and Cuba and all these Caribbean countries. It’s a fun town and I think  food wise it’s just growing now. It’s just a big mesh of cultures coming together and it’s great.

+ How did you get started with your business?

  • Alec: I can’t remember what bakery I was at, but I was there for at least 10 min waiting for my food at the ventanita. It was so many times I just heard “dame dos croquetas, dos croquetas.“ And it was like lightbulb moment. It’s only ham, chicken or cheese. There’s only traditional flavors. And so I told Vicky – because she’s the only person I know who makes bad ass food, and she’s also my aunt so we’re a family business – I told her I want to make a company, I want to call it Dos Croquetas,  and I want to do non-traditional croquetas. I was very persistent because I felt something really special in this space. And then she had me make a croqueta. So after that I somehow convinced her and we decided to start the company. We took our own money we bought a couple fryers opened an Instagram account started hyping it up. Dos Croquetas – a non traditional croqueta company. And we did our pop up. It was different, it was in the middle of nowhere – but it gave us our start. We’re super grateful for it.
  • Vicky: – I wanted Alec to understand it’s not easy. You want to make croquetas in a city that is saturated with croquetas? He was like, yeah, and I was like, OK. We talked about the concept and realized there’s nothing that’s kind of funky flavors with things that we like to eat. That pop up location is kind of how we became a destination. We started with Instagram attracting people to come find us and then they would just come. It was very weird – people weren’t sure if they were doing a deal or if this was a strip club. We have pink lights trying to spruce up the place but no one was sure what was going on. You went to our warehouse, you knock on the door and then you ring the bell and you get croquetas made to order.

+ Has it always been your dream to own your own business?

  • Alec: For me personally I’m 27 now and since 14 I’ve been trying to start any business. The fact of the matter is, I was a creative guy but I could not have built this without without Vicky. The reason why Dos Croquetas is here is because she was able to execute on the ideas. I’m super happy. This is the best thing ever
  • Vicky: I didn’t think I was going have this company but what was what was really fulfilling to me was creating something that was crave-able. And I realized that when people would come have it, they would come back the next day and bring friends and that’s the biggest compliment you can get. Making people happy through food is one of my happiest accomplishments.

+ What are some of your recent successes?

  • Alec: That Friday, May 10, when we opened The Croquetar Bar we saw 3000 people. I had never seen that. It was 7-8k croquetas in one day. We sold out of everything. We were just trying to keep up – staying up all day every day. We didn’t expect that it was going to be like that the next day and for the the next couple of weeks.

+ Who are some of your favorite businesses in CITY? 

  • Alec: I’m obsessed with Night Owl Cookies.
  • Vicky: PastelitoPapiii. People that put passion in their food – they take a little bit of extra time and its effort and it’s really coming thru in the product. Thats the whole thing you don’t want to put something out that’s just mediocre.

+ Any advice for others out there who’d like to start their own business?

  • Alec: Perseverance. Not knowing what to do holds back a lot of people. The truth is, we still don’t know what we’re doing. We don’t use the phrase “I don’t know how to do it” anymore – we will just figure it out. There’s nothing at this point that we cannot do. When you learn how to remove that bag of anxiety and just look at what you need to do you end up just doing it. Just get rid of that wall, get rid of that fear of failure if you don’t try you never know. You can either live the rest of your life wondering or you just whatever and figure it out and if you fail you just do something else.

  • Vicky: Be prepared for hard work, be prepared for everything, for me – not seeing my kids in the evenings of the weekends. It’s that kind of sacrifice, you’re going to sacrifice but you just have to keep in the mindset and it’s just for a period of time. You just have to suck it up and do it. Just do it and keep going.

Learn More:

You can find Dos Croquetas on Yelp and follow them at @DosCroquetas, @CroquetaBar, @chefvickyc, and @croquetaprenuer.