LA TERESITA EXPERIENCE
The Capdevila Family emigrated from Cuba to the United States in 1962 on the Freedom Flights to Miami, Florida. Maximino and Coralia Capdevila fled Cuba wanting a better life for their boys after Fidel Castro and communism took over. Even though they did not know the language and they did not have any resources, they knew that if they worked hard they could achieve the American dream. Maximino and Coralia decided to settle in Tampa along with their four boys, Jorge, Luis, Albert, and Maxi, Jr.
Maximino worked eleven years for The Acme Plating Company where he gained the respect of his fellow employees and supervisors. He became the foreman of the company and worked there until a tragic death of a brother in law that die at the company under Max watch. He then left to open his own business. Coralia had worked many long hours and many years at The Tropical Garment Company as a seamstress before she too took on the challenge of a new business with her husband. The two older boys, Jorge and Luis, started working at the age of 9 and 7 selling hot Cuban corn tamales on their bicycles on the streets of Tampa on the weekends, and soon Albert and Maxi followed. Three years later, the boys graduated to their uncle's meat market. The boys worked weekends and summers for many years until their parents bought their first business “La Teresita Grocery.”
The grocery store was bought with a small down payment and a loan from the Small Business Administration in 1972. Maximino and Coralia, along with their four boys and faith in God, went on to work together to make their American dream a reality. Success came with a big price: they worked from seven in the morning to eleven at night, three hundred and sixty five days a year; year in and year out.
The small grocery store became a supermarket, fish & meat market and a small Coffee & Sandwich Shop with a large customer base. Soon, the restaurant seating was not large enough to meet the customer demand. The family made the decision to buy the Philip 66 gas station across the street on the corner of Lincoln and Columbus Drive. They remodeled and moved the Coffee & Sandwich Shop to the new location with 3 horseshoe-shaped countertops with seating for 50. It was there that the small restaurant/cafeteria became a landmark and continued to evolve into the popular hot spot from breakfast to late night, serving café con leche, Cuban sandwiches, soups to delicious homemade cooked meals. The demands of the restaurant and its popularity required more attention and Maximino & Coralia decided in 1985 to sell the grocery store. La Teresita continued to flourish being visited by hundreds daily.
In 1993, the Capdevila family once again endeavored on a new project, another dream: a 14,000 square foot, two-story restaurant on properties they had previously purchased next to the existing cafeteria. The new building now holds a sit-down restaurant (Capdevila’s at La Teresita) with tables and booths on the east side of the building, the cafeteria with the horseshoe-shaped counters on the west side and takeout area, a banquet hall on the 2nd floor. The new project with the Lord’s help became a great success and the Capdevila family has continue to served this community and people from all over the world with great food, reasonable prices, huge portion's along with a great family atmosphere. La Teresita now serves thousands weekly and has been honored to host and serve Presidents of the United States, governors, senators, mayors, city workers, and peoples and cultures from all walks of life. They all enjoy the world famous “La Teresita” food and traditions.