Ever since Michelle Alfaro and Mag Rodriguez opened Maranta Plant Shop (1739 N. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.), it’s been a whirlwind. The dynamic pair started out as a pop-up in 2020, but have since put together a sellable jungle at their brick-and-mortar shop in the Bronzeville neighborhood, along with a weekly flea market outside the store with other local vendors.
Now, Alfaro and Rodriguez are teaming up with Dominique Alvarado for another business endeavor – this time, a food trailer. Tostada by Maranta will open in mid-August, with a menu including four authentic tostadas options as well as freshly squeezed aguas frescas.
“We’re excited for people to taste this food, and get a different taste of Mexican food,” Rodriguez says. “The menu that Dominique has put together is incredible. I’m excited for people to get to know her.”
Alvarado will be the chef as well as a part-owner. While she didn’t go to culinary school, she was raised on Mexican cuisine and farm-to-table cooking.
The menu is inspired by her roots as a first-generation American and granddaughter of former Mexico City farmers. Because of this, she wants to make sure her menu includes many locally-sourced ingredients that support the Wisconsin agricultural economy.
“We ate a lot of local things growing up, and shopped at farmers markets. It’s trendy now, but that’s how I was raised,” Alvarado says. “We’re going to source as much as we can locally.”
As for the tostadas, the options will be chicken (in season for the summer), pork, vegetarian and vegan. The aguas frescas will include mango lime and a vegan horchata. The juices will, of course, be freshly squeezed and skip the concentrate.
“The key to anything is quality ingredients and cooking from scratch,” Alvarado says.
Having vegan and vegetarian options on the menu is important to Tostada’s by Maranta’s mission of providing food for everyone. That’s why Alvarado is working on a recipe for corn-free tostadas. She hopes to some day provide a tostada for customers with corn sensitivity.
The trailer will be parked outside Maranta Wednesdays-Sundays. In the future, the team hopes to take it on the road to local events and festivals and maybe even invest in a second trailer. Watch for updates on their progress on Instagram at @marantaplantshop and @tostadasmke.