35Years of Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

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It’s been a while since my last post, this summer was busy with my daughters and the business, we are celebrating our 35th anniversary at El Burrito Mercado and it’s been a great year so far!

The timing is appropriate for an update as we are in midst of Hispanic Heritage Month.  When this time of year comes around it never fails that I question, why are we recognizing Hispanic contributions this one time of year?  And inevitably, I begin to think about the politics that are associated with the holiday,(the initiating of this holiday was politically driven after all).  And mostly I find that I am interested in learning about the demographic changes in the ‘browning of America’, and I discover this kind of strange, mixed feelings of shock, happiness, then pure excitement!!! On the fast growing Hispanic population:

Today, according to the latest Census data, the Hispanic population in the United States totals 54 million, making it the largest ethnic or racial minority in the nation.[1]  Within the Hispanic population, 64 percent of Hispanics are of Mexican descent followed by Puerto Ricans at 9.4 percent, Salvadorans at 3.8 percent, Cubans at 3.7 percent, Dominicans at 3.1 percent and Guatemalans at 2.3 percent.[2] http://blog.chron.com/insidepolicy/2014/09/felices-fiestas-celebrating-hispanic-heritage-month/

This is especially exciting for me and my family when we think about how few Hispanics there were in the twin cities when El Burrito opened in 1979! It’s thrilling both as Mexicans ourselves to have a community and of course for our business, it’s been a blessing.  There is an overwhelming feeling of joy and pride that my parents too were just trying to live the ‘american dream’ as so many immigrants do.  In spite of the growth, and many changes, as a state and a nation, there are so many injustices.  There is a part of me that is called to raise my voice and take action and contribute to changes in laws and policy that impact the immigration and Hispanic business community.  It can be overwhelming, and I think I’ve finally found a balance in which I can remain active, yet do what I feel impacts positively.  I have found that by continuing to strive for our business, and to educate about our culture, build bridges, increase cultural awareness, and breakdown stereotypes, that I am also attributing to the end goal simply by staying active, caring, and sharing.

It feels great to work in a place where people feel that they are somewhere else, it’s so rewarding to hear customers comment on how much they missed their homeland products. For many years, we have been offering brands that are also now an integral part of the booming economy of which Hispanics have so abundantly attributed.  El Burrito Mercado (EBM)is celebrating 35years and to me, it is a testament of the growth and contribution to Minnesota’s Hispanic business developments.  EBM was pioneer introducing brands to Minnesota such as Goya Foods, a wonderful company that from its’ humble beginnings now is known world wide for it’s range of products for Mexican and Latino foods.  Additionally, years ago, EBM was the first in-state wholesaler of Mexican foods to mainstream markets such as Cub Foods and other supermarkets and convenience stores.  Until the big chain distributors quickly recognized the opportunity and they too began distributing Mexican wholesale and EBM went out of business.  Though now days, EBM thrives primarily on the food service side of the business and is known for offering unique ‘experiencias mexicanas’, we are still the primary Latino market for offering a variety of Latino brands such as Goya Foods, La Costenita, La Merced, and many more!

Argentinian Yerba Mate Tea

Guarana Brazilia

Guarana Brazilia
Goya Brand variety of frozen and dry.

It’s absolutely thrilling to witness the Hispanic growth in Minnesota and I am all about celebrating it!  While Hispanic Heritage Month offers the time and activities to recognize Hispanic contributions, my hope and wish is that we embrace and learn about the beautiful diversity our country offers all year long, not just during a dedicated time of year.

In an effort to increase awareness, I am now offering through EBM a variety of opportunities for groups, schools, clubs, teams, etc to experience another culture through a fun, interactive experience, I call them “Experiencias Mexicanas”, the activity can be offered in a rental facility, a home, in our El Cafe y Bar, or other venue and each quote is catered to include, food, drinks/cocktails (optional), and a hands-on experience.  The most popular is the Tamalada (tamales making) and Dia de los Muertos theme.  I can be contacted via email if you are interested in more information milissa@elburritomercado.com

El Burrito Mercado is celebrating 35years, and we have several great promotional and event based activities as part of the ongoing celebrations.  35years is a looong time! And the journey of growing up in a family owned business is incredible, I feel so blessed and grateful to my parents for their many sacrifices and hard work for this booming business.  EBM has impacted our family, the St. Paul Westside community, contributed thousands of dollars to organizations, and so, so many special people, some have been employees but many have become an extension of our family.  Thank you all for the 35years of support and loyalty!


We had a wonderful anniversary celebration in July, the community was present and supportive, local mariachi, dancers, bands, and we served refreshing margaritas as well as the traditional festival foods like tacos & elotes! Below is a link to the spanish video of the celebration, my father shared some words in the video, in summary, he thanks the community, our employees, and God for the support and many blessings our family has received through EBM, he could not have expressed it any better!

I also feel moved to congratulate the many other successful Hispanic owned business’ of Minnesota, such as La Loma Tamales, Manny’s Tortas, and Boca Chica amongst many more, Muchas Felicidades!

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp9v2JhZr98El Burrito Merc Logo


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