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Cinthya Duran hungered for the homemade tortillas she grew up with but couldn’t find any like them in Fort Worth. That’s one reason why she opened Cafecito with her mother, Yaneth Sanchez. What started as a food truck in December 2022 quickly grew into bigger business. Cafecito opened a brick-and-mortar at 1229 8th Ave. in August and now has 11 employees. The restaurant specializes in breakfast tacos with pink tortillas.
Contact information: (682) 376-9749
This interview has been edited for clarity, grammar and length.
Reporter Seth Bodine speaks with Cinthya Duran about the transition from food truck to store and how the restaurant’s pink tortillas took off.
Seth Bodine: What was that conversation like with your mom when you discussed starting Cafecito?
Cinthya Duran: It’s kind of crazy, because we were talking but it just seemed so easy. We were like, “OK.” There was no hesitation from either one of us. I’m a big believer in everything happens for a reason. And everything happens at the right time. And so I think we were both in that mindset where we were ready to try something new, and it just worked out.
Bodine: What influenced the decision to start out as a food truck first?
Duran: Definitely funding. We actually found our food truck from a manufacturer in Mexico. And … that company is based out of where we’re from in Mexico, in Coahuila. We took a trip down there, took a look at it, and then they kind of custom made it for us. It did sit in storage for months because we (had) just so many things that we still had to figure out. We didn’t realize that they would build it so quickly.
Bodine: How did you feel on your first day opening up the truck? When did you start feeling like the business took off?
Duran: The first day was so scary. We ended up doing a kind of a pop-up in our community. Our HOA did a lot of food trucks. Again, it was right after COVID. Neither my mom nor I had any professional kitchen experience. So, we have just been figuring it out as we go. My husband was there that day, and I called my sister and my brother-in-law, and I was like: ‘We’re just going to figure this out together, guys.’ And so, the first day, it went really well.
When we moved here to our permanent location, we were super scared because we weren’t in our comfort zone. And so that day, it was just myself and my mom. And I believe my husband came that day. And I think I called my brother-in-law just in case. And so we just sat there, we opened up. And I remember like, ‘OK, when are the people going to show up?’
Then, we got our first customer. And that was super exciting for us. But it was still super slow. I think the first day we had a handful of sales.
Shortly after that, the girls from all of the medical offices across the street started coming over. And then, I guess, word spread. And, every day, we would notice there would be a little bit more. And then we started getting the large catering-style orders for offices.
Bodine: You make pink tacos, right?
Duran: We do, yes.
Bodine: Was that a branding decision?
Duran: Definitely, we started out with just flour tacos. But we started noticing that a lot of our customers were gluten-free, or they were on a diet and they didn’t want to have flour. So we knew that we had to incorporate a corn tortilla. But I didn’t want it to just be a basic corn tortilla. So, I started googling and realized that you could dye corn with beet juice. We kind of did some experiments. And then it worked. And they were a big hit from the beginning. Everyone loves the pink corn tortillas.
It’s so funny now even little girls will come and their mom will say, ‘Oh, they just want a pink tortilla,’ or ‘They just want a pink taco.’
Bodine: I’m curious about what you’ve learned in the past year or two about entrepreneurship. Do you have any advice?
Duran: Half of the battle is showing up. And it’s very stressful. But when you’re passionate about it, it really does change something in you, where you’re ready to face anything.
Any challenge that comes my way, I know that I can figure it out. And if it’s not just like with my brain, I have so many people that I can go to for advice, and I’ve met so many different business owners. So, that’s been really cool, too, and I’m able to pick their brain.
Another big thing is you just have to go for it. Even if you feel like you’re not ready, take that first step and then figure it out.
Bodine: Anything else you’d like to add?
Duran: I would just like to add how grateful we are really to the community and the Near Southside community, who have accepted us and supported us. And we love seeing all of our regulars come every day before work, even if it’s just for their morning coffee. And we’re just so happy to be here. I’m especially happy because this is where I grew up. So it’s so surreal to now have my business in such a busy area … I never thought this would be my reality.
Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @sbodine120. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.