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Meet David Soukenik and Joel Orellana of 28th and South

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Soukenik.  

Hi David, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
When I met my business partner Joel Orellana in 2021, we instantly connected on our shared love for great food, service, and the kitchen atmosphere. Together, Joel and I have 15 plus years of industry experience. 28th and South began as an idea inside a small coffee shop in Akron, Ohio. Both Joel and I dreamed of one day opening a catering and food truck company that stood out for its diverse dishes and alternative culinary experience. Most importantly, we wanted to educate our guests on culture, diversity, and the need for bringing our community together. 28th and South is not just a reflection of Salvadoran cuisine, but an appreciation for all Latin-inspired dishes. We love to see people smile when they try a new dish for the first time – such as our unique and flavorful pupusas. 

After being in business for only 7 months, we purchased our first food truck – a goal we set for ourselves during our first year in business. We continue to host food pop-ups throughout Northeast, Ohio while expanding our catering department. At 28th and South, we believe in partnering with local businesses to support local economic growth. That is why we purchase local and partner with other food business owners to bring the highest quality ingredients to our guests, all while creating memorable food tasting experiences. Our local foodie friends include Plates by Post, The Farmers Rail, NoHi Cafe and Kitchen, The Well CDC, and PopCultureCLE (just to name a few). 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The challenge of starting a new business is not only learning how to grow your business but how to maintain your business. Both Joel and I knew at the beginning that we would have to juggle our previous daytime jobs while growing 28th and South. Time management and organization are key to staying on task – which is why we set ourselves weekly goals in order to avoid any unnecessary bumps in the road. 

We committed to putting back nearly every dime we made in the first year in order to set 28th and South up for future success. That means that most of our work is sweat equity – we do not take home a salary. We enjoy the long hours in the kitchen or at team meetings discussing how we can bring the best quality food and experience to our guests. Our belief is quality over quantity. 

We’ve been impressed with 28th and South, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
28th and South is a full-service catering and food truck company specializing in Salvadoran/pan-Latin cuisine. We provide full-service catering, drop-off catering, and food truck rental. We cater private events, company gatherings, and weddings. We are known for our pupusas – a flavorful flatbread made from cornmeal or rice flour and stuffed with cheese, beans, or meat. 

28th and South provide dishes for both the traditional and adventurous food palette. We offer a rotating and fixed menu displaying various pan-Latin cuisine while incorporating hints of Asian and Mediterranean flavors. Some of our dishes include, Modelo Barbacoa Tacos, Barbacoa Mac and Cheese, Bean and Cheese Pupusas, Empanadas with corn crema, and Tostadas. 

We are most proud of our Pupusas. Most people we meet have never heard of or tried a Pupusa! They are an excellent and traditional dish served in El Salvador. Our guests love the taste as they are served fresh off the hot griddle and served with a side of curtido and salsa Roja/Verde. 

28th and South is not just a catering and food truck company but a supporter of the local community. We treat each guest like family and hold the highest standards for food prep and service. We want our guests to not only enjoy our food but have a food experience that reaches far beyond their dish. We love to educate people on our style of cooking and why we make all our dishes from scratch. Each dish tells a story and we walk our guests through the experience. 

How do you define success?
Success is a journey. It is a road filled with many different turns and bridges. Some days success is accomplishing a task or building a relationship. Other days success is failing at something only to learn and become better at it the second time around. Success is learning to enjoy each moment without focusing entirely on the future. Learning to define what success means for you will help you set yourself apart from others. We can’t compare ourselves to everyone else, because what success is may be different for everyone. Success is about appreciating the small victories and sharing your successes with others. 

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Image Credits
David Soukenik
28th and South

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