EUSTIS, Fla. – Ana and Dave Harris started the Empanadas R Us food truck in September 2021, after they recognized her cooking talents.
“Cooking has always been my passion. I have been cooking from the time I was 8 years old,” said Ana Harris, owner and cook of Empanadas R Us.
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Ana Harris is originally from the Dominican Republic. She moved to America in 1999.
“When I got married, I started cooking my food. My husband liked it, and this is how Empanadas R Us was born,” Ana said.
Her husband Dave explained how he encouraged her to start a business with him.
“We used to do it for fun, and I said this stuff is really good we should sell this stuff. We would have people come over and she would sample it to them. They asked if we do catering, and then we thought we can make this into an actual business,” said Dave, owner of Empanadas R Us.
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Ana said empanadas are a major part of her Caribbean roots.
“Some people come here and ask, ‘What is an empanada?’ I say it’s similar to what Americans call a turnover.”
Brittani Manock, Empanadas R Us customer, said she recognized Dave and Ana’s empanadas right away.
“I love empanadas – I always like to try different things. This truck happened to be here, and I was hungry and said ‘hey, you know what, I’ll give it a try,” Brittani said.
She decided to come back for seconds after a short period of time.
“I tried a beef empanada first, and I loved it. I came back here and saw they had a guava and cream cheese one, and I was like, ‘you got me I’ll go ahead and get that one too’,” Brittani said.
Dave explained how they started selling only beef empanadas, and then they added more to the menu as they realized just how many dishes Ana could cook.
“Before we knew it, we were like, ‘Let’s try curry.’ She used to make awesome pulled pork sandwiches and I was like this might be good inside an empanada,” Dave said.
Ana said they started selling empanadas from a tent about three years ago and saved money little by little until they could purchase their own truck.
“This is the way we cook in the Caribbean,” said Ana, when describing how her cultural passion turned into her and her husband’s business.