Entrepreneur of the Month – Manny’s Tortas

Congratulations to NDC Entrepreneur of the Month Manny’s Tortas!

28 years ago, Manny González moved to Minnesota with two dreams: to learn English, and to own his own restaurant. He realized his first dream quickly. In 1998, he read about an innovative, Latino-organized, NDC-supported project coming to East Lake Street: the Cooperativa Mercado Central. They had space for five food businesses, and Manny saw a chance to realize his second dream. Manny enrolled in NDC’s 16-week entrepreneur training program. From that class he developed a business plan, and as Manny says with a contagious grin “that’s how everything started!”

Twelve years later, Manny’s Tortas is a Lake Street staple with successful locations at both the Mercado Central and the Midtown Global Market (MGM). Manny gives thanks to NDC for their continued partnership: “NDC has been really powerful help for a lot of entrepreneurs. My experience with them, it was tremendous. Because basically, they take you by the hand and say okay, this is how you’re supposed to get into the program, get loans, get permits. I knew about food, but the business aspect is totally different, and NDC helps you with that.”

This year, NDC’s partnership with Manny expanded into a new venture: a booth at the Minnesota State Fair. After two years participating in the Midtown Global Market’s State Fair booth, NDC worked with Manny to achieve a long-time goal of securing his own permanent location at the Fair, featuring his trademark tortas and a Fair specialty- non-alcoholic piña coladas, served right in the pineapple. Was the wait worth it? Manny laughs and exclaims, “It was insane! It was beautiful insane. It was work. I’ve never seen so many people! But we were ready.” The fair was a resounding success for Manny’s Tortas, and Manny gives many thanks to MGM manager (and NDC employee), Jeff Alexander: “Oh my goodness! He was like a guardian angel. He was excellent!”  Manny’s Tortas was one of eleven Midtown Global Market vendors that participated in the Fair this year in partnership with NDC  – a service that is part of NDC’s mission to incubate and create broader opportunities for small businesses.

Manny, along with his sister and business partner, Vicki, currently have 12 employees at the two restaurants they operate, and they have cultivated a strong following of torta-addicts in Minneapolis. “The sky is the limit. That’s the vision I have. We can do great things and change neighborhoods. Like with MGM- we’re changing the neighborhood. I think NDC is doing a great job (in the community), doing a lot for entrepreneurs. Sometimes people don’t really know who’s behind it all. NDC is the heartbeat that keeps the whole body moving.”

 

Holy Land Expands

Holy Land Grocery & Deli in Midtown Global Market is expanding! Read the Star Tribune’s article.

Holy Land Article

National Attention for Safari Express

Safari Express (and owner Jamal Hashi) gets national attention from ABC news for Camel on a Stick at Minnesota State Fair!

Camel on a Stick – Safari Express in the News

Curious about Camel on a Stick? Check out MPR’s article and then go visit the MGM booth at the International Bazaar through 9/2 at the Fair and give it a try!

Can’t make it to the fair by 9/2? Visit Safari Express at Midtown Global Market and check out their other delicious East African cuisine.

Manny’s Tortas on Kare 11 at the Fair

Manny's TortasManny Gonzalez, owner of Manny’s Tortas, shows the crowd how to make non-alcoholic piña coladas- the perfect refreshment for a summer day at the Minnesota State Fair:

Watch the video

Read the full article

Midtown Global Market at the Fair

Be sure to check out all the Midtown Global Market vendors at the fair this year!!

Manny’s Tortas -Food Tent, all 12 days
La Loma Tamales – MGM booth at the International Bazaar 8/26-8/29
Safari Express – MGM booth at the International Bazaar 8/30-9/2
Jakeeno’s Trattoria – MGM booth at the International Bazaar 9/3-9/6
Holy Land – MGM booth at the International Bazaar, all 12 days
West Indies Soul – MGM booth at the International Bazaar, all 12 days
Fiesta in America – MGM booth at the International Bazaar, all 12 days
The Produce Exchange – Just outside the International Bazaar, all 12 days
The Salty Tart – Just outside the International Bazaar, all 12 days
Café Finspang – Heritage Square, all 12 days

Faces of our Fair

Star Tribune video and article interviewing four vendors at the MN State Fair, including Sharon Richards-Noel (owner of West Indies Soul Food).
Read and watch here!