PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new Latin cafe in Beaverton is bringing a dose of Miami sunshine to the Pacific Northwest.
La Floridita welcomed their Beaverton Farmer’s Market regulars to their Watson Avenue cafe on September 21 — serving Miami-inspired bites and Colombian coffee as a nod to Co-Owner’s Ana Ocampo and Jesus Licciardello’s Florida upbringings.
“It’s a concept that we started back in 2019 where we wanted to bring a little bit of the Miami culture, specifically the Miami food into the Pacific Northwest,” Ocampo said.
In 2017, the pair moved from Los Angeles to the Portland area where they wanted to bring classic bakery options found in Miami to the Rose City.
“We realized that although there were many Latin establishments in Portland, we really couldn’t find a place where it’s just like the coffee and donut for us and so we started in 2019 at Snack Fest,” Ocampo said.
“It did really well, people were like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t find this anywhere. Thank you for bringing this.’ And then that sparked the idea to maybe do something a little bit more weekly and so we got into the Beaverton Farmer’s Market at the end of 2020, and we’ve been there for about three years now,” Ocampo explained. “The possibility to expand presented itself last year and we just ran with it.”
The name La Floridita takes inspiration from where the food and drinks come from — offering croquetas with ham or spinach, pastelitos with meat or veggie options, cafecito and café bon bon.
Ocampo says they wanted to serve traditional Latin cuisine that’s approachable for everyone, with some options — like the marionberry and cheese pastelitos, offering a Pacific Northwest twist.
“We started taking a lot of staples that you will find traditionally in any bakery in Miami – that being the guava and cheese or anything with guava, it’s pretty much the main dish,” Ocampo said. “Then we wanted to adapt to the kind of Pacific Northwest consumer. I know everyone tends to be more vegetarian friendly, so we did kind of tweak some of our recipes.”
Ocampo added, “we wanted to give people who haven’t tried this cuisine before a reason to try it and not deter them if they were vegetarians and couldn’t have the main staples.”
She also wanted the space to emulate a “modern take on tropical minimalism,” featuring a coral color palette to honor Miami without feeling cliche.
“I was thinking of the dead of winter in Portland in January, and cold, and rain, and gray,” Ocampo explained. “I wanted to feel that when you walk in, you open the doors, you feel somewhat transported to a more tropical place.”
Ocampo says they decided to open the cafe in Beaverton to continue serving the community they catered to in the beginning.
“Our regulars are from this area and the community that we started catering to from the beginning was here and so the opportunity presented itself to open up in Old Town Beaverton, which is really kind of a happening spot. The City of Beaverton has done a great job in bringing a lot of restaurants from Portland,” Ocampo said, highlighting other popular restaurants such as Loyal Legion, Breakside Brewery, Ranch Pizza, and Afuri.
Ocampo says they’re “extremely happy” after a successful grand opening and feel welcomed by the community.
“Finally, being with the doors open and seeing people come in and a lot of our regulars being excited that they have a place [with] not only the cuisine that they love but now they have coffee as well,” Ocampo said. “Even the first weekend, the love that we received even just from the neighbor establishments…it just feels really nice to be part of this community…we feel very excited for this next chapter.”
She added, “this is a place that’s really for everybody, for people that know the food from either nostalgia from their childhood or someone who has at some point in time traveled to Florida…we welcome everybody.”