In between the high-end brands, flashy cars and extravagant food, there is someone there for the every day people who work to keep this place alive. Someone like Jorge. Check out his interview.


What’s your name? Where are you from? How long ago have you lived in Miami?

My name is Jorge Nizarala, I come from Uruguay, and I’ve been in Miami for 18 years. I love it here. Mainly the weather. It makes me never want to leave.

Why Miami?

It’s a long story. My sons left home first, they planning on going to Europe, but later they decided to go somewhere closer. Once they arrived and settled in Miami, they persuaded me and their mother to come as well.

When did you begin in the food business?

That story begins in Uruguay. I already worked in something similar to this, and I did for many years. Being here in Miami, I always searched for a way of doing something on my own. Finally, the opportunity came. A person I knew had this truck and wasn’t using it anymore. We negotiated, and well, here I am eight years on.

Where did you get this cart? Why hot dogs? Why this style?

Whe style began because of the car, and I already knew about the hot dog business. Back in my country I had a job doing the same thing; selling hot dogs, sausages, sodas, and things like that. The guy I got the car from had a business route, he gave it to me and I continued using it. I added some new products, within the space available, I slowly added more. Everything has worked out, I have work, and that’s important.

Did you add products based on Miami’s culture?

Of course! I don’t have space for a coffee machine, but people ask for ‘coladas’ all the time, so I purchased the aluminum espresso maker, and it worked out. I have people pass by saying ‘Oye preparame una colada’ (Hey make a me a colada), and now I can. I l had to learned how to prepare it. In Uruguay, we don’t drink coladas. It’s not that we don’t drink coffee, we just drink less amounts compared to Miami. This type of espresso maker does not exist back home, but you mold yourself to the city you live in.

Which were some of the challenges you had to overcome from starting your own business?

Ihe main challenge was to produce enough money to keep the business running, and then to profit from it. I had expenses and I had to earn a salary as well. At the beginning it was hard – it wasn’t easy to make just enough to pay the vendors. Nevertheless, we went step by step, adapting to each situation accordingly. We economized in every way possible, until we gained more sales.

Tell us about your menu. What’s your favorite product?

Not that it’s my favorite, but based on customer orders, the hot dogs sell very well. It’s a high-quality product. People love their flavor. It’s my battle horse, it produces the largest amount of revenue for my business. I also serve sausages, which are a different product. It too sells well, but not like the hot dogs. I always sell more hot dogs than sausages.

What’s your favorite food here in Miami, and your favorite place to eat?

We have a tradition in South America; meat. We are excessive carnivores. Although I have reduced my consumption, at my age there are less benefits, but I’ll always be attracted to a nice ‘Parrillada’ (barbeque). On the weekends I take my wife to a ‘Parrillada’ two to three times a month. That’s my favorite thing to eat. I don’t know much about names -I don’t really remember, but I often go to La Parrilla Argentina and another Brazilian restaurant here in North Miami. They sell amazing steaks, in Portuguese they call it “espeto corrido”, basically a spike with meat that they pass around your table, and cut it straight on to your plate. The meat they serve there is high quality and they have an amazing salad buffet. That’s the most common thing for us in South America – meat. We also make ‘Parrilladas’ at home, like when my kids come for the weekend, or when I go to their houses. It’s very typical between us.

What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you with your business?

The craziest thing had nothing to do with food, but with my car, was the time my brakes didn’t work. That was horrible. I left in the morning to go to work, as I usually do. At first when I had to use my brakes, I felt that the pedal would push back strongly, but the car still braked. I stopped at a red light, then I accelerated again towards the next light on eighth street. The light switched to red, and all the cars stopped. A Crown Victoria stopped in front of me – they look like police cars. When I pushed the brake pedal, it went loosely all the way down, and the car didn’t stop. I saw the car in front of me get bigger as I got closer, I felt like I was going to eat it. I wasn’t going fast, this is not a car meant for speed, but as long as it’s moving, you definitely feel the impact. I looked quickly and saw a narrow space in between the yellow street line and the Crown Victoria. My car is narrow as well. My thoughts were that it would be cheaper to smash the other car’s mirror than to hit it in the back. I drove the car into the space, and it fit perfectly. Once I got to the intersection, the light was still red and cars were passing. I drove straight through the red light, luckily, nothing happened and I was able to pass eighth street safely as my speed began to slow down. This is an automatic car; you don’t have the resource of a stick shift to control the car. I reached the next street, the car continued to slow down until it finally stopped completely. It was crazy. My heart was pounding out of my chest. When I stopped, I couldn’t believe what just had happened.

Any advice for anyone who wants to start their own mobile business?

Well, it doesn’t have to necessarily be for a mobile business. I’ll say that when you have an idea and initiative, you must fight for it, because that’s the only way you will change your perspective on life. If you are going to wait for the train to pass, chances are it won’t. So when you have an opportunity, you must take it. This is a business like any other. If you have an idea, throw yourself towards it, and follow it. Nothing you’ll ever do will feel like winning the lottery. There are no instant rewards. This is a fight. Many people tell me “oh, but you’re doing great!!” Yes, but I’ve been fighting for eight years. The first two years were hard – I had to go to poorer areas that were less safe, so that I could pay less rent to overcome what I was not making. You will go through this process in any business you start. You will have many difficulties, but you can’t give up. When I had my first car, I had mechanical problems – nothing serious, but enough to lose days of work. Imagine, you already not making enough and still you have to stop two- or three-days’ work due to mechanical problems. When you miss two days of work, you are not going to get paid. You have to think about everything, and know how to find balance, and push your business to success.