Today we’d like to introduce you to Belen de la Cruz.
Hi Belen, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I moved from Argentina almost six years ago. A friend asked me to give her cooking classes… I thought she was crazy… I am not a chef, just took some cooking classes in different academies in Argentina, and cooked all my life as a hobby. My mom is an amazing chef. Eating at home was all about gourmet food and setting a nice table. Every detail count. After giving a cooking class to my friend, I thought I could do that to meet people and a fun part-time job, share my culture and flavors. I designed a flyer offering Empanada + Wine night for locals, and right away I knew it would work. I had private, big groups, couples, just ladies, families… I had more than 400 attendees in almost two years, and at the end of the class.. the question was always the same… “where can I buy the empanadas? “and my answer was always the same. There is no Argentinean place to buy them in Atlanta.
My brother heard that and he offered, almost pushed me to open a bakery! We rented a space, built a commercial kitchen from scratch and on February 8th, 2020, we open our doors for the first time in Johns Creek… 14 months later, we opened our second location in Marietta and we are about to open in MIdtown, Chatahooche The Works!
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It is never easy to open a food location, and if we add to our adventure that two weeks after the grand opening, covid pandemic started… We had no idea how to run a business, and we were learning while we were dealing with reality too. I ended up crying many times over the first months of operation, OMG how much I learnt from that!! We had and still have an amazing community supporting us from day one. We never closed or adjust times… we just did what we had to do, work hard, keep on producing a good quality product, and bake with lots of love!
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We specialized in Argentinean Empanadas and Pastries. We bake, not fried our empanadas; we offer 13 flavors for meat lovers, vegetarians and gluten-free. Our dough is flaky and crispy and our fillings are homemade and fresh. We cook with top-quality ingredients and customers love that we stamped the names on the empanadas. We also offer Argentinean pastries and custom cakes. Dulce de leche lovers go crazy with our cakes. Customers drive from very far just to have our empanadas!
Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
We want to open 2 or 3 locations per year, so luckily, we will be having more than 10 locations by 2025. we are expanding our kitchen to be able to produce in one location and distribute our products ready to bake. This way, we’ll be having consistency in our flavor and 100% control on our production.
- Empandas $3.20
- Gluten free empanadas $3.5
- Dozen Empanadas $35
- Cakes $40
- Alfajores $2
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://belendelacruz.com/
- Instagram: @belendelacruz_empanadas
- Facebook: belen de la cruz