Latinx Heritage Month is a celebration of the vibrant cultures and many contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States. In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, Yelp partnered with Momento Latino to launch a new searchable, Latinx–owned business attribute to support Latinx-owned businesses. We also took this opportunity to highlight some of OTP’s amazing Latinx business owners.
Belén De La Cruz, owner of Belén De La Cruz Empanadas & Pastries
Johns Creek, GA
Originally from Argentina, Belén moved to Atlanta in 2015, where she started giving cooking classes, organizing empanada ladies-night-out events, teaching about empanadas, sharing her traditional flavors, and selling pastries. Her brother gave her the push to open their first store in February 2020 and they have been serving Argentinian empanadas and pastries since!
Twin sisters, Alicia and Mildred, and brother, Paris Retana, owners and operators of Lake Burrito
Lake Burrito is known for ‘Good Food and Good Vibes.’ They strive to serve wholesome, quality Mexican food with authentic family hospitality. Located near Lake Lanier, Lake Burrito embraces the lake-life community and cares for the environment with their 100%-compostable values.
Mark, owner and manager of Alebrije Mexican Cuisine
Mark has been in the restaurant and hospitality industry for the past 37 years and worked in various restaurants and hotels in his hometown, Mexico City, as well as in Metro Atlanta. He has worked in every position and climbed the ladder to become Manager and Restaurant Consultant, allowing him to help others achieve their restaurant goals..
Rey Regalado Junior, Felix Pelaez and Vicente Galan, owners of Papi’s Cuban Grill
Atlanta, Kennesaw, Stockbridge, and Lawrenceville, GA
Papi’s was originally founded by Rey Regalado Junior. Papi’s was a dream of Rey Junior and his father, Rey Senior. The two envisioned themselves sharing their family recipes and the delectable tastes of east Cuba with the United States. “Papi’s,” Spanish for “Daddy’s,” is named for, and dedicated to Rey’s father, Rey Senior’s memory who passed away of cancer in 2002.
Rey began Papi’s in an 800 square foot space in Midtown, Atlanta. Subsequently, Felix Pelaez and Vicente Galan partnered with Rey and began opening other locations throughout the city of Atlanta.
Juan Fernando Henao, owner of Casi Cielo
Sandy Springs, GA
Juan is from Pereira, Colombia, the coffee zone. He came to the US and moved to Buford, GA when he was fifteen. His first real job was as a dishwasher and busboy at his uncle’s first business endeavor, La Parrilla Mexican Restaurant. He had various positions over the years – dishwasher, server, menu developer, etc. The most important thing he’s learned is that this business is not about food, but about people. Juan studied at Georgia Perimeter College for two years, dropped out and went to Cordon Bleu, graduating with honors. He then went to Harvard for an executive certification.
At Casi Cielo, every experience is unique. Inspired by Oaxaca, Mexico, they take artisanal Mexican food with a contemporary interpretation using local ingredients from Atlanta. They also boast an impressive collection of over 50 different types of mezcal!
What does Latinx Heritage Month means to you?
“It’s the time when we honor every Latino that for different reasons landed here and contributed to build this country. We can find the Latin influence everywhere, most of all, the influence on food. I am proud of that!” – Belén De La Cruz
“Shows that the awesomeness of the U.S. is the result of vibrant and energetic backgrounds, a culture of dreamers and doers!” – Alicia, Mildred and Paris Retana
“To me, Hispanic Heritage Month means sharing my pride, my roots, my tradition, my culture, and my family to our customers.” – Mark
“One of our main goals of opening Papi’s is to expose our customers to our wonderful culture. Being it through our food, music, arts, history, and with our warm hospitality.” – Felix Pelaez and Vicente Galan
“We are so proud to be able to show the incredible culture of Mexico, not only are we forever inspired by their flavors, but more importantly, their hospitality. The culture is so giving and so diverse, the passion and love they have for their people and people all over the world is unmatched. We are so grateful to be able to show a piece of that to Atlanta and hopefully inspire others to do the same.” – Juan Fernando Henao
Special thanks to these great, local Latinx business owners for sharing their stories! We encourage you to follow them on social media as well as follow our Collection of Latinx-owned business in Atlanta and OTP here.