How El Burrito Mercado Got Started

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It all started in 1979 in a tiny store front that only offered dry Mexican groceries and tortillas.  We had one cash register, and a van that my father would use on weekends to go to Chicago to pick up merchandise.My parents struggled to get their first loan, they had faith they worked hard and with support from Latino community professionals, they were able to obtain their first loan to begin their mercado (market). Both my parents worked other jobs in the start up phase of the business taking turns covering at the market and taking us with them on the weekends.

happy owner of a restaurant

Tomas Silva

My Father comes from a very humble ‘rancho’ or town where he spent most of his life in poverty  under very poor conditions. As the oldest of three siblings he took on the responsibility  of putting food on the table to help his mother, and began working at a very young age.

My Father taught me :

  • You must work hard in order to be successful
  • You can overcome any obstacle in life
  • Be grateful everyday for the blessings you have.

As  my father  grew older, he found out he had a knack for creating authentic Mexican foods ; he sold tamales, roasted corn, esquite (cooked corn kernels), among other things.

What I admire most about my father is that he taught himself  how to create, manage and sell his products he is quite the entrepreneur!
My father was the first in Minnesota to introduce a corn roaster at festivals. He prepared them Mexican style and he they were a hit. He now has three corn roasters which are busy all summer at festivals and events such as Grand Ol Days, Lumber Jack Days, Taste of MN, Cinco de Mayo, and of course every weekend outside the business! For information on Tomas bringing the corn roaster to your event, please contact Tomas Jr,
restaurant manager woman at work place

Maria Silva

My mom migrated to the United States with her family when she was 10yr old. She is one of the youngest of nine. As a young woman while her siblings worked as migrant workers in beet fields in Minnesota and Colorado. My mom would baby sit and care for her nieces and nephews.  She watched her mother and older sisters create authentic mexican recipies and, she found she really had a passion for cooking.

My mother began experimenting in the kitchen, she would take any cookbooks she could get her hands on! My mother also attended Mechanical School of Arts High School where she says one of her favorite classes was home economics. My mom overcame distinct obstacles and endured racism, discrimination,  and poverty, but her perseverance kept her moving ahead.

Mom oversees the quality of the food at El Burrito Mercado, and is an advisor for the management team. Mom makes regular trips to Mexico for purchases of the Mexican fine art and folk art which you will find all over El Burrito Mercado.

During her free time, she spends time with her seven grandchildren, and  nurtures her Victorian gardens. Mom also volunteers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church where she is an active member.

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