James Windon started his cleaning business after a career as a serial entrepreneur in the entertainment industry.
Then came the pandemic. And that’s when the creativity really started to flow.
Windon and his wife Johanna started Buena Papa Fly Bar in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2021. The concept is loading fries, a dish Windon invented during the pandemic.
While cooking for her family during the COVID-19 lockdown, Windon learned how to make homemade French fries. One day, when he was making a paisa (a traditional Colombian dish with rice, beans, and several toppings), Johanna ran out of rice to cook as a base, so Windon had it fresh out of the oven. served homemade french fries.
It might sound crazy at first, but they were desperate at the time.
“Hungry kids were watching us, and as parents, we wanted to make it work,” Windon said.
Entrepreneurs had shut down their cleaning business during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Windon was ready for what came next.
“My business mind started rolling. I was like, ‘Wait a minute. You might have business here,'” he said.
Buena Papa is like chipotle to French fries, but “Don’t just think of the bacon pieces, because they aren’t,” Windon said. Or rather, it is a dish from around the world based on French fries.
When Windon came up with the idea for Buena Papa, he started researching the most famous dishes from different countries online.
Starting with the brand’s classic made from bandeja paisa, El Colombiano (Colombiano) is French fries layered with refried Colombian beans and topped with chicharrón (fried pork belly) and chorizo (Colombian sausage). , topped with guacamole and pico de gallo to finish. From the north, The Carolina: fries drizzled with vinegar, topped with pulled pork and coleslaw, and finished with our signature tangy barbecue sauce. And across the pond is El Griego (Greek): French fries tossed with Greek seasonings, grilled chicken, topped with tzatziki sauce and finished with pico de gallo.
The diversity of its menu is one way Buena Papa differentiates itself from its competitors.
“We can introduce new cultures, new languages, new foods [to customers]said Windon. “When you walk into our place, you feel like you’re on vacation. Like when you go to Cancun or Puerto Rico.”
Some of the menu items are in Spanish, Windon says, which not only helps customers enjoy Spanish, but also teaches them a new language.
Buena Papa has three restaurants open, with fourth and fifth restaurants in the works. According to Windon, they started at a food hall in Raleigh called the Morgan Street Food Hall.
When they went to the food hall to pitch, the person in the hall asked, “How many years have you been in the restaurant business?”
Windon said, “Nil. But I’m going to figure this out.”
And he did.
The fourth Buena Papa will be in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. They’re just “letting the ink dry” on their first franchise deal as well.
“What we’re more excited about is that we can bring this simple concept to other people across the United States just like we are,” says Windon, who shares the restaurant’s background with People who don’t have one but have business experience.