BRATTLEBORO — Julio Davila loves making Puerto Rican food for the community, a task he starts early in the morning to ensure there’s enough to fill the orders that are starting to multiply.
“I have a passion for cooking. It’s kind of like a hobby and therapy,” Davila said. “I think it’s going to be great, considering that there’s no Puerto Rican food around.”
Davila started Latin Spot in January. He prepares, cooks and sells takeout food from his residence at 235 Canal St.
Asked how it’s going, he said, “So far, so good. The snowstorm we had a few weeks ago, sheesh, that was the most sales I’ve made since I’ve been open. I was surprised and impressed.”
Davila described how sales have been picking up each weekend, except the last one for which he blamed the Super Bowl for making people want wings and pizza.
Last year, he started researching what it would take to open a food business. He said he reached out to the town, state and Internal Revenue Service then applied for appropriate licensing.
“Everything came together like a puzzle,” he said.
Crowd favorites include empanadas, kabobs and pina coladas.
Latin Spot is open from noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Davila hopes to add Thursday and Friday next month, then eventually operate for even more days in a commercial building.
For now, he has to be mindful being in a shared living space. He also has another job at Khameleon Koatings in Brattleboro.
Davila said he’s “100 percent Puerto Rican” and learned cooking when growing up. In the past, he has held jobs in carpentry, masonry, painting and automotive detailing.
“I think this is my thing right here,” he said as he prepared some kabobs in his kitchen. “I’m doing this out of my passion, but this is a good way of getting out and doing what I like to do best.”
Davila noticed there’s a lot of interest locally in cultural food. People like to try different things and flavors, he said, seeing Latin Spot as an avenue for such indulgences.
“It’s something different for the community, for people out of state, whoever,” he said. “Right now, they have to go out of state for Puerto Rican food.”
Davila grew up in Western Massachusetts and was born in Holyoke, Mass. He ended up getting in trouble in 2013 and doing some jailtime.
“I’m trying to do better and be successful,” he said, believing people can make the best out of a bad situation. “I choose not to fail. I refuse.”
He hopes Latin Spot can be his success story.
“I came from nothing,” he said. “Selling drugs I thought was the thing, but it really wasn’t. When I got the time that I got and what I went through, it’s not good. It’s been hard for me. Growing up, I didn’t grow up with parents. I grew up in foster care. You know, a lot of trauma growing up. It’s been difficult, but I’m a fighter. There’s nothing that’s going to take me down. This is it. This is my comfort zone.”
Davila is looking for building space to rent to expand his operation.
Latin Spot can be reached at 802-579-6645.