Fuente De Sabores has been serving unique sandwiches, desserts and drinks on Main Street in Newmarket for less than a year but running this restaurant is literally in the owners' blood.
The shop is owned by husband and wife duo Dennis Fernando and Jasleidy Bermudez, along with her sister Yanet. Fernando was born in Sri Lanka, which was called Ceylon then, and his great-grandfather was an Irish businessman, particularly in the tea trade in Ceylon.
While he never met his great-grandfather, he inherited his entrepreneurial spirit. Fernando came to Canada in 1991 and studied business at Seneca College.
Bermudez handles the cooking side of the shop — a passion she inherited from her grandfather.
"The food background come from our granddad. He was a very amazing chef,” she said.
"He loved to cook. He loved to watch the people’s faces expressing ‘that’s so good,’” Yanet agreed. “We cook with love, we serve with love but we enjoy it more than them to see the faces.”
The sisters originally opened Fuente De Sabores in Cienfuegos, Cuba. They had been in Canada but went back to Cuba a few years ago to care for their mother, who still lives there. They opened the restaurant to support themselves while there.
However, they weren't able to maintain the business in Cuba. COVID-19 meant Fernando was unable to travel back and forth and on top of that, shortages made it exceedingly tough.
“The reality was things are hard to find,” Fernando said. “Imagine, the food, electricity gets cut off all of a sudden.”
All three came back to Canada, where they live in Aurora, and in May 2022 opened Fuentes De Sabores at 34 Main St. S, near Davis Drive. They said it's the perfect spot.
“When we were passing by, driving by, we always thought Main Street is a beautiful area in a beautiful city, Newmarket. We always wanted to have something here, we just didn’t know it was going to come true,” Fernando said.
The name translates to Fountain of Flavour and they serve just that. The menu was originally developed at the restaurant in Cuba and continues here. It has lots of Cuban inspirations but is filled with international items like crepes, waffles, lattes and milkshakes.
The trio said it's hard to say what is the most popular menu item, but Bermudez said their signature dish is the Cubano sandwich. Yanet said the waffles and churros are unique recipes that appeal to people, while Fernando said the milkshakes are a big hit, especially in the summer.
For Bermudez, the look of the dishes is equally as important as the taste. Her sister said that she is an artist and makes sure every dish looks beautiful, even if it is just a sandwich, served up on a heart-shaped flag with a little Cuban flag.
The more creative dishes, like the milkshakes or waffles, are carefully slathered in sauces and loaded up with colourful toppings. It's a menu that's perfect for social media sharing and Yanet said people are always taking photos of their food before they eat it. It's something they love to see.
Fernando said there are a number of regular customers coming to Fuente De Sabores and he hopes the business continues to grow from here.