For Maria Magana, running a food truck has been a dream come true.
“I love cooking,” she said. “I wake up, and it’s power for me.”
Magana moved to Sioux Falls 17 years ago, and at the time, there weren’t many traditional Mexican food options around. She started selling her authentic Mexican food at the fair after a friend asked her, and then she made food for weddings and quinceañeras.
Her success led her to open her own food truck three years ago — La Fondita,
Magana recently moved to set up shop in Tea, South Dakota. The area where La Fondita had been in Sioux Falls, Magana said, was starting to become oversaturated in the Hispanic food market, and the competition with other businesses made things hard.
Relocating the food truck to a small-but-growing community is something Magana’s already loving.
More:Your 2022 guide to Sioux Falls food trucks operating this summer
“It’s very busy,” Magana said, discussing how business was already doing well on her opening day in Tea on Monday. “The people are very, very nice. …It’s a very nice community.”
Community is something important to Magana, as is family, which includes her son, daughter, sister and partner Bill Hartwick. Magana and Hartwick own and run La Fondita together, and Magana jokes that he’s not allowed to touch the kitchen.
“It’s my place,” she laughed.
Moving the food truck to Tea, though, is something Magana couldn’t have done without the help of her sister, Tina Terry, who will be opening up her own Valentina’s Pastries in the building that La Fondita is parked in front of.
More:Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers to open first Sioux Falls location Tuesday
Magana and her sister have always been very close, growing up in a family with 11 children, and the opportunity to have their businesses right next to each other makes them even closer.
“We’re together for everything … always helping each other,” Magana said.
Terry also provides the fresh-baked bread used in Magana’s tortas, which are sandwiches filled with ingredients like chorizo sausage, pork, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado and spicy salsa.
La Fondita open Monday through Saturday in Tea
Tacos and burritos are the other staples on La Fondita’s menu and are very popular with customers.
New this year are carnitas plates, which are plates of rice, beans and braised or deep-fried pork, available on the menu on Fridays. The dish originates in the Mexican state of Michoacán, which is where Magana is from; it’s a region known for its diverse dishes and varieties of flavor.
On Wednesdays, there are special barbacoa plates, which are beef, rice and beans, and on Saturdays, they serve tostadas.
Although La Fondita has found its permeant home parked at 120 East First Street in Tea, it will still be making an appearance at this year’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta in Sioux Falls May 7.
More:Corn prices approach record high as farmers prepare for planting
La Fondita operates Monday-Saturday 9 am to 5 pm
Magana feels very supported in her move, and she’s glad to continue doing the work she loves for herself and for her kids.
“I’m so happy to be here,” she said.