TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – This Hispanic Heritage Month, 8 On Your Side is featuring several Hispanic-owned businesses in Tampa Bay to celebrate the influence their culture has on the community.

This week, 8 On Your Side’s Brianda Villegas checked out Loli’s Mexican Cravings, a restaurant that has been cooking authentic and savory food for about seven years.

“This month, we need to eat and promote Latin food to those who haven’t tried it yet,” Co-Founder Josue Garcia said.

Loli’s co-founders Josue and Maria Dolores “Lola” Garcia migrated to the United States in the early 2000s with the American dream of owning their own restaurant.

After moving from Guanajuato, Mexico, the married couple worked in the restaurant business as cooks.
It was during those first few years in the U.S that Lola would cook up batches of tamales for their coworkers.

Her husband Josue said her cooking skills caught the eye of many in the community and turned a hobby into a small catering business.

The couple’s success grew and in a few years, they were able to open their first restaurant in the U.S. named “Loli’s” after the nickname Josue gave Lola when they first started dating.

“It is a lot of work but the most important thing is that my wife, Lola, has a lot of talent,” Josue said.

Now the pink walls of Loli’s Mexican Cravings has its doors open to those who want to recognize the impact the food has on the culture in Tampa Bay.

“It means a lot, the fact that we can share our culture with others and share what makes our background so great,” Miguel Martinez said.

Loli’s Mexican Cravings has several locations around Tampa Bay and serves authentic Mexican food and drinks. Their menu and locations can be found on their website. Loli’s also plans to open its fifth location in Westshore within a month.