Tirado’s Empanadas and More is a family owned and operated business managed by Trish and her daughter Jenn Tirado with the help of Trish’s husband of 35 years John and their son Steven. The families cooking is influenced by their rich family heritage which includes the following: Greek, Irish, Puerto Rican, Italian, Jewish, and Hungarian. Having raised the family in the Chicago area also exposed them to a wide variety of ethnic foods and gave them their deep appreciation for many different foods and flavors. Trish herself was raised in and around the restaurant business, and even managed her Uncle’s Pizzeria. Her passion for flavorful cooking has passed on to her children and now all of them have experience in the restaurant business.
The Tirado’s primary product is a fried turnover filled with beef, chicken or pizza. Although it is actually called an empanadilla in Puerto Rico, a more familiar word is used “empanada” since it easier to pronounce. For years, the Tirados have been making these foods at home for family and friends. Friends have raved about them and said, if they were to sell them, they would buy them. Thus, Tirado’s Empanadas and More was launched.
Tirado’s Empanadas and More was origianlly started as a food cart business located downtown Greenville in the spring of 2012. But now Tirado’s Empanadas and More can be found in the Food Court at the WestGate Mall in Spartanburg, South Carolina. To all of our new found friends that we met at the cart, and to all who participted or saw us in Food Court Wars, we hope to see you soon in Spartanburg.
Oh, just in case you are wondering, the logo is original Taíno Indian art. The Taíno Indians were the original inhabitants of Puerto Rico before the Spaniards, and the tiny green colored tree frog is a Coqui (ko-kee). The male Coqui makes a unique sound all night long that sounds as if he were whisling his name. To some people the sound may be a bit annoying but to Puerto Ricans it’s music to their ears. The coqui is a much loved national animal for it is a sentimental symbol and mascot of the island.
If you ever get the chance to visit this beautiful Island, Trish would definitly recommend your going. She says it’s one of the most colorful and breathtaking places she has ever been.
~Borinquen Querida — My Beloved Puerto Rico~
We cannot begin to tell you what a whirlwind this year has been. In spring of 2012, we started a small food cart business located on the corner of Broad & Main Street in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. We also did catering and festivals in and around town. We had a great time meeting so many wonderful people, and, well—everyone seemed to love us. But, during the winter months, it was very difficult to maintain food on the cart without being able to cook on the cart. So we put everything in storage for the winter with plans to bring it all back the following spring. In the mean time, we prayed that God would lead us in the direction the He would have for us to take in the next year, and, He did, in a very big way.
Right before the summer months began, a good friend of ours, Chef Rodney from Table 301 emailed us to say that there was a TV cooking show looking for contestants and he thought we would be perfect for it. There was only a day or two left before the deadline so we had to get our application in ASAP. To our surprise, we were selected to compete, and then the phone calls, the emails, the skype interviews, and video chats began. There were a million steps, and each time Jenn and I thought, “We’re not going to make it; I think we blew it; there’s no way we made it.” But somehow they chose us—Team Tirado! And if being chosen for a TV show wasn’t opportunity enough, we actually WON, we couldn’t believe it!
We competed against The Taco Spot from Charleston, SC. JV, the owner and Michael his head chef were great guys, and we had a lot of fun jazzing them in the spirit of friendly competition. And if being chosen to participate in a TV show wasn’t opportunity enough, we won, we actually WON, we couldn’t believe it! We still can’t believe it! We’ve had three months to soak it in before our Grand Opening.
Meeting Tyler Florence was a big highlight, and having him tell us that our food was awesome was a huge boost to our confidence. He’s really a nice guy, even sitting down and sharing his business savy with us, he gave us some good business advise that we will definately take to heart.
Jenn and I want to give a big shout out to Molly O’Rourke and her team of producers (Army you’re in our hearts forever), camera and sound crew (Jason and Jeremy you’re the best), and culinary producer (Brook we love you) who were simply amazing to work with. They made us feel like we could do anything. And we practically did!
We hope that you have had a chance to see the show, but if not, stop by our restaurant at the WestGate Mall in Spartanburg, and we’ll tell you all about it. Of course you can try one of our now famous tasty empanadas.
Vanessa Nazario is the artist who was instrumental in helping us with the redesign of our restaurant. She captures the island feel as she brings to life the tropical landscape through her paintings which are displayed on our menu boards and throughout our restuaurant. She is an aspiring artist from the Chicago area. She is married and has two beautiful daughters. Vanessa has a degree in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago, and in recent years has been learning to paint at local art studios. She grew up on the lush tropical island of Puerto Rico. It is always in her in heart and on her mind. This has been the source of so much of her inspiration. The colors, sights, flavors and loving people are infused into everything she paints.
“I paint from the heart, what inspires me and what moves me.”
Vanessa, who is a very compassionate and creative person, has pursued many different forms of art until she discovered her love for painting. Painting for her is an outlet through which she can express her thoughts and dreams. It allows her to display the beauty she sees in people and the world around her.
“The most rewarding part about painting is that it can elicit a memory, stir an emotion or deepen one’s connection with the world.”
Vanessa’s expertise is in oils and acrylics. Although most of her work stems from her own creativity, she does use photo references for portraits.
If you like Vanessa’s work, let her know. She can be reached at vnartworks.
To view additional works or to commission Vanessa please visit her site at http://vnartworks.wix.com/vanessanazario.
Thank you so much Vanessa for helping us with the opening of our new restaurant. Your beautiful art work conveys just the message we wanted. You captured the colors as well as the look and feel of the island, all of which we wanted to share with our customers. Thank you again for all you did.
We love you and your work. God bless.