WINONA, Minn. — With his parents owning a resort business, Joel Anacabe grew up around private chefs. Food always inspired him.
And after graduating from Winona State University in 2006, he decided to take that inspiration on the road — literally, Winona Daily News reported . First with a munchie wagon and then in 2016 in the form of a food truck, Anacabe has grown his idea from having wheels to having a brick and mortar restaurant in Goodview called Anacabe's Little Kitchen.
Housed in the former Wenonah Brewing Co. building, the restaurant has been open a little more than a year, selling home-cooked-style burgers, philly cheese steak sandwiches, Cuban tacos, mashed potatoes and gravy, and more.
Establishing the restaurant, open for breakfast and lunch through Saturday, has not been easy.
Anacabe's original business plan was to operate his food truck in Winona, but he met pushback from a city council that denied his request. One condition of operating a food truck in Winona is that the business must have a physical space, which the council said would prevent unfair business competition against local brick and mortar restaurants.
Anacabe said he didn't have enough capital to keep going through the process in Winona to move forward with his plan.
In Goodview, the response was different.
"The city council saw my vision," he said. "They embraced me with open arms."
For a while, Anacabe operated from his food truck only, but then a little more than a year ago — with the encouragement of business mentor Cynthia Martland — he opened a restaurant space that seats about 38 people.
In October, he decided it was time to get rid of his wheels.
"I sold the food truck this fall," he said. "(The new owners now) are rocking and rolling outside the US Bank Stadium."
Now Anacabe, his wife and Martland — the restaurant's general manager — are excited to be cooking up some new ideas.
Beyond the daily specials, which include their own smoked meats, the crew is working on opening a drive-through for coffee and donuts by March.
"We're going to be having Caribou coffee and Bloedow's donuts," Anacabe said excitedly.
And down road, he'd like to add a few other things.
"I'll bring in craft beer and wine," he said as he sat inside the kitchen at a small round bar. "I'll never bring in liquor. It's not worth the insurance cost."
Adding that there's nothing better than putting a smile on the faces of the people who walk in.
Martland — who's been in the food business for about 25 years — said she's looking forward to future growth and is excited to work for a restaurant she's passionate about.
"Come and eat with us," she said with a smile before heading back into the kitchen.
An AP Member Exchange shared by Winona Daily News.