Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ulises Ortega, owner of La Catrina Churros + Cafe Bar, located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is my dream, my legacy to my kids. We are a coffee shop specialized in churros, the only churro place in Ottawa. We started with a cart doing festivals, and we opened a brick-and-mortar five years ago. We serve everyone who enjoys a specialized dessert, from young families to young adults. We also cater to corporate events and parties. We have a unique snack/dessert that pleases everyone with a sweet tooth...ah, and they are vegan as well!

Tell us about yourself

I am a Mexican immigrant living in Ottawa. I decided to have a business when I was still in school, which made me change careers and study Business management. I noticed we all talk about Mexican food, but what about our Mexican desserts and street food? I decided to offer churros and then branch out to tres leches cakes and other desserts as well as our popular Mexican sandwiches (tortas). What motivates me is my family, to be able to leave something to my kids. Also, to be able to offer part of my culture to Canada.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I would say to open a brick and mortar. When I first started, that is what I wanted to do, but churros were not known in Ottawa, so my strategy was to build a cart and be in every festival in the Ottawa region so people would get to know them and love them. Five years ago, I was able to open my coffee shop in the Byward Market. To be able to do what I love and provide for my family is my biggest accomplishment of all.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Be able to juggle business and family be able to do it all and do it well. And to find your A-team!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Do it.
  2. Your employees are your biggest asset.
  3. Keep trying even when it is difficult.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

If you want a business to be ready to work more than in a regular job, but at the end of the day, it is very rewarding.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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