“A Little Mini United Nations: Kissimmee Food Truck Fleet Attracts Hispanic Business Owners
Kissimmee, Florida. – It is considered Florida’s largest food truck park. World Food Trucks, located in a parking lot off W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee, is also a popular spot for Hispanic vendors.
“We have Mexicans, we have Venezuelans, we have Arabs,” said Nadeem Battla, president and CEO of World Food Trucks.
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Battla said he never imagined his global food truck park would become a magnet for Hispanic and Latino entrepreneurs.
“For me, being able to help the next generation of immigrants has been an absolute blessing to me,” Battla said. He is the son of immigrants from Pakistan and said he understands firsthand the difficulties immigrants face when settling in the United States.
Fernando Reina is one of millions of immigrants. The 44-year-old left his native Colombia where he was a dentist six years ago.
“Mi country hace varios años está atravesando una situación social un poco difícil, cambiando”, said Reina in her mother tongue that for several years her country has been going through a difficult situation.
Today, Reina is the owner of the Fruits and Shakes food truck, which specializes in smoothies made with fruits typical of her 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 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 will experience a bit of the island and 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 started with a truck, La Fiebre del Sabor Criollo, it was among the first food trucks to settle in the park in 2015. Now there are up to four food trucks.
“I feel like we’re a little mini United Nations here. I love that we have countries from all over the world represented here,” Battla said. “The same way people helped my parents grow up, now I can help this next generation of immigrants grow up and create the story of their American dreams.”
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