As the coronavirus continues to have a stifling effect on the Miami restaurant industry, Caja Caliente owner Monica Leon has decided to do her part for hungry locals by returning to her food-truck roots.
For Leon, who founded Caja Caliente as a mobile kitchen in 2016 and has since expanded to two brick-and-mortar locations, it's the perfect time to revitalize the mobile model.
"I’d definitely say I’ve always gravitated towards food trucks, and it’s something I’m very passionate about," Leon tells New Times. "When COVID came about, I pivoted and decided to get another truck. Early on, I saw more of a demand for outdoor seating and knew another food truck was the way to go."
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The new Caja Caliente truck will reside in Miami's Design District, where it will serve as a delivery hub for neighboring areas including Wynwood, Edgewater, and the Upper Eastside. There will be shaded outdoor seating for those who wish to grab their food to-go and eat on-site.
Leon says the menu will be based on the brand's classic Cuban tacos as well as a one-of-a-kind pop-up creations. That means everything from collaborations dishes with local chefs to her breakfast specials on the weekends with her new cinnamon-roll pancakes and her mother's take on arroz con pollo or "Cuban lasagna," with layers of picadillo, fried sweet plantains, and cheese ($3 to $20).
"This food truck, unlike our old one, has two fryers. And we have more space, which allows me to be more creative in the kitchen," Leon says. "I’m extremely excited to be coming back to the neighborhood just a few blocks away from where Caja originated, and to finally find a permanent home for the food truck."
Caja Caliente Food Truck. 95 NE 40th St., Miami; caja-caliente.com.