2017 SBA MINNESOTA MINORITY OWNED BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Milissa Silva-Diaz, CEO/Director of Marketing & General Operations
Mexican-American, Milissa Silva-Diaz, is a passionate, diversity advocate with a vision to unite teams through culture, food and music all while infusing business savvy. She is the eldest daughter of immigrant, entrepreneur parents, Tomas and Maria Silva, married, and proud mother of two. Milissa is most known for her innovative leadership at El Burrito Mercado, the multi-million dollar Mexican & Latino unique marketplace & restaurant employing over 80 staff members at their growing St. Paul location. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.linkedin.com/in/milissasilvadiaz
Suzanne Siva, Director of Human Resources/Administration
Analita Silva, Director of Catering & Special Events
The moment you approach El Burrito Mercado, you know that you are somewhere very special. The experience begins from the street as you begin to smell the delicious aromas from the onsite kitchen where expert and talented cooks prepare all fare of authentic and delicious Mexican food; from simple, irresistible Tacos al Pastor to elaborate and gourmet quality Chicken Mole.
This is Mexico in Saint Paul! Listen to the Spanish speaking employees welcome you while they are busily preparing delicious food or assisting other customers with their purchases of food from the deli, groceries to take home or buying beautiful arts and crafts lovingly selected directly from artisans in Mexico.
Tomas and Maria Silva are the original owners, from humble beginnings in Aguascalientes, Mexico, in 1979, with minimal education, mostly street smarts, and plenty of vision and faith, they took over a small 800sq ft market and converted it to El Burrito Market, dba El Burrito Mercado. Offering only dry Mexican groceries and tortillas, one cash register, and a van in which Tomas would use on weekends to go to Chicago to load up on merchandise.
What started as a tiny mercado to meet basic Mexican grocery needs for the latino community in the Westside of St. Paul MN, has become a destination in the heart of WestSide St. Paul. With much sacrifice and hard work, after several years in that tiny store and with the growth of the Latino demographics, the business blossomed. In 1995 Tomas and Maria ventured to move into a 13,000 sq ft building just across the street, which is the current location at 175 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul, MN
El Burrito Mercado is truly a unique business because it offers so many experiences in one marketplace in a beautifully decorated location, it’s adorned with the items they annually handpick from vendors in Mexico and sell in the market. The quality selection of grocery, fresh produce, and meats & seafood distinguishes it from other Mexican markets, the foodservice side of the business is the fastest and most consistent growing area of the business. The deli features authentic grab n go mexican dinners, full service deli with salads, heat and eat foods, and more than a dozen salsas.
El Cafe y Bar Restaurant features four unique dining experiences: cafeteria style, dine-in full service, buffet/brunch, and in the summer an outdoor patio. They also have a private dining space for private event use accommodating groups up to 35, La Placita Room.
They also have a booth at the MN StateFair selling imported gifts from Mexico, and they also participate as a food vendor in many of Minnesota’s festivals and fairs. The growth and expansion of the business over the past several years has been led and managed by the Silva children.
Almost 40 years in business, El Burrito Mercado is thriving under the watchful eyes of the Silva sisters Milissa and Suzanne and third generation Analita. This trio of hardworking women manage with love and attention to detail. This power team ensures that El Burrito Mercado continues to thrive and growing with its always expanding product offerings, creative and professional catering, more seating in the restaurant and in the newly added outdoor La Placita Patio. All of these while The Silva family strives to keep things real, never compromising quality, service, or authenticity. If it feels real is because it is. Viva La Experiencia Mexicana!