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I Create Birmingham: Gabriel Marrero & Maria Isabel Medina

“Sharing our history and culture through our recipes, and showing locals how similar we both are in terms of history and cuisine is one of the main goals of Tropicaleo. “



Name:
Gabriel Marrero & Maria Isabel Medina
Occupation: Owners of Tropicaleo

1. Why was it important for you to bring the flavors of Puerto Rico to Birmingham? 

We feel that education through food is the most practical (and delicious) education of all. Sharing our history and culture through our recipes, and showing locals how similar we both are in terms of history and cuisine is one of the main goals of Tropicaleo.

 

2. For someone who has never tried Puerto Rican food; how would you describe it?

Awesomeness on a plate! Honestly, though, we serve savory food that isn’t spicy, a refreshing experience for the southern taste buds. There are so many parallels between Puerto Rican food and southern food that we make our menu using local ingredients.

 

3. You are a recent CO.STARTERS graduate; how did CO.STARTERS help foster lasting business relationships? 

Create Birmingham, REV Birmingham, and the CO.STARTERS program is a business opportunity every entrepreneur in this city needs. The program’s roster of mentors and speakers is so robust; nothing catapults you into Birmingham’s business life more than CO.STARTERS. Attorneys, accountants, investors, business partners, and new friends – there is no limit to the relationships that you will develop.

 

4. After ten weeks, what was the biggest take away upon graduating from our CO.STARTERS program? 

Break-even analysis is as important as our business idea. If you don’t know how you are going to survive doing your business, you might as well scrap the business altogether.

 

5. What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs? 

Do things in this order: Trust the people that know more than you and believe in your ideas.

 

6. What’s next for Tropicaleo?  

We have a lot of things coming up. We will be doing special events, festivals, and catering while we build out our permanent location at 4420 4th Ave S in Avondale. Appleseed Workshop is designing the space. We expect to open doors this fall.