‘A little mini-United Nations:’ Kissimmee food truck park a magnet for Hispanic business owners
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – It’s considered to be Florida’s biggest food truck park. World Food Trucks, located in a parking lot off of W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee, is also a popular place for Hispanic vendors.
“We’ve got Mexican, we’ve got Venezuelan, we have Arab,” said Nadeem Battla, the president and CEO of World Food Trucks.
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Battla said he never imagined his world food trucks park would become a magnet for Hispanic and Latino entrepreneurs.
“For me to be able to help the next generation of immigrants has just been an absolute blessing to me,” Battla said. He’s the son of immigrants from Pakistan, and said he understands firsthand the struggles immigrants face when moving to the United States.
Fernando Reina is one of the millions of immigrants. The 44-year-old left his native Colombia where he was a dentist six years ago.
“Mi país hace varios años está atravesando una situación social un poco difícil, cambiando,” Reina said in his native tongue that for several years his country has been going through a difficult situation.
Today, Reina owns the Fruits and Shakes food truck, which specializes in smoothies made with fruits that are typical from his country.
On the other side of Fruits and Shakes you’ll find Pa’ los Chinos, a Chinese food truck with a Puerto Rican twist.
“That’s the difference. We put a little bit of our sofrito, our taste, our seasoning in it,” said Celeste Marzan, the office manager of Pa’ Los Chinos. “When you come here to Pa’ Los Chinos, you’re gonna find a little bit of the island and you’re going to remember your culture your people.”
The owners of the food truck are Damaris Torres and Edgar Cruz. They left Puerto Rico in 2009 and settled in Kissimmee. The couple began with one truck, La Fiebre del Sabor Criollo, it was among the first food trucks to set up at the park in 2015. Now they’re up to four food trucks.
“I feel like we’re a little mini-United Nations here. I love the fact that we have countries from all over the world represented here,” Battla said. “The same way that people helped my parents to grow now I get to help that next generation of immigrants to grow and create their American dream story.”
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