A guest at Amy’s Pastelillos opens up a pstelillo. (Photo: Jabari Cherry for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®/File)

The city has approximately 12,000 Latino-owned businesses

It’s a new day in Philadelphia. In November 2023, the residents of the City of Philadelphia elected Mayor Cherelle Parker as their 100th (first female) mayor.

And one of Mayor Parker’s first appointees is Alba Martinez. Mayor Parker named Alba Martinez as Philadelphia’s Director of Commerce. Martinez, who is originally from Puerto Rico, is the first Latina and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to hold this position.

The priority? Supporting small neighborhood businesses, especially those owned by Black and brown Philadelphians.

The Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce estimates that there are approximately 12,000 Latino-owned businesses in Philadelphia and as many as 23,000 in the region.

Amy Rivera-Nassar making pastelillos. (Photo: Jabari Cherry for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®/File)

In March alone, three Latino-owned businesses opened in the Kensington and Fishtown neighborhoods: Amy’s Pastelillos, Encanto Kicks & Coffee and Mural City Cellars. All within walking distance of each other. 

Amy’s Pastelillos, originally a pop-up business, moved into found her brick and mortar at 2001 Memphis Street, (the site of the old Andy’s Chicken).

Espresso machine at Encanto Kicks & Coffee. (Photo: Jabari Cherry for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®/File)

“I decided to open up in Fishtown because I have been part of the neighborhood for over 10 years,” Amy Rivera-Nassar, owner of Amy’s Pastelillos said. “I live here, my kids go to school here and I eat here. I wanted this place to be a casual and affordable neighborhood spot.”

A 5-minute walk from Amy’s takes you to Encanto, 2110 E Norris Street. It’s a creative combination of sneakers and coffee and the brainchild of Louis Quiles who started in the sneaker world at a very young age. The coffee shop is named after Puerto Rico’s nickname, “La Isla del Encanto.”

Wine_Selections. Wine selection at Mural City Cellars. (Photo: Jabari Cherry for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®/File)

Another 5-minute walk takes you to Mural City Cellars, owned by owners Nicholas Ducos and Francesca Galarus. They settled into their new home at 1831 Frankford Ave., at the corner of Berks Street and the edge of the Fishtown-Kensington border. The wine-making facility also serves as a wine bar and bottle shop.

“Our business has grown and evolved in the same light we have grown and evolved as neighbors,” Nicholas Ducos, co-founder, and co-owner of Mural City Cellars, said. “We started small with serving our immediate neighbors within a few blocks but over time we met more neighbors and the support they have given us has allowed us to create bigger and better spaces for them to socialize and meet other members of the community.”

“Over the last two years, the rise of Latino-owned businesses in the neighborhood has been immense and fantastic,” Ducos said. “It’s wonderful to see my fellow Latinos and Latinas getting the support and recognition for all the hard work. Latin culture is a central part of every city in the United States, and to have this representation in this up-and-coming neighborhood couldn’t have us more excited and proud.”

“I love to see more businesses opening their doors around [Kensington/Fishtown] and I love seeing the support we are getting,” Rivera-Nassar said. “While there is a large Puerto Rican population in Philly, you don’t see many Puerto Rican businesses outside of North Philly. I’m hoping this changes in the next few years and I think it will.”

Other businesses that have a profound respect for the neighborhood they reside in include Cantina La Martina. Chef Dio Jimenez was named a semifinalist in the annual James Beard awards which are some of the nation’s most prestigious honors recognizing leaders in the culinary and food media industries, and those in the broader food systems.

Other Latino-owned businesses and organizations that have operations in Kensington and surrounding neighborhoods include Faiya Company, Strivers Row Distillery and Taller Puertorriqueño.

The power of Latinos in Philadelphia is stronger than ever. Support these businesses and tell your friends and family about them.


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