Eat This

Oye Chico! Dallas' New Cuban Food Trailer

Oye Chico is a new Cuban food trailer at the edge of the Dallas West Trailer Park at 400 W. Commerce St., owned by Cuban-born Luis Bayola. Out of this small kitchen he's serving a small but flavorful menu of sandwiches, empanadas and traditional Cuban food.

Bayola was born in Las Tunas, Cuba, and raised in Miami, then Dallas. His mom taught him the fundamentals of cooking, but he says "my love of cooking came from wanting to make people happy."

From this trailer, Bayola slides bags of flavorful Cuban sandwiches and from-scratch empanadas through a small window. A ropa vieja sandwich takes the traditional Cuban pulled meat dish and presses it between fresh bread that is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. The meat is topped with a layer of sautéed bell peppers, green peppers and onions along with a habanero salsa that Bayola makes from scratch.

The delicate dough of the empanadas is crisp and filled with liberal amounts of pork, chicken or beef along with spices. Be sure to grab an extra container of that habanero salsa for the small pastries. Bayola bakes these instead of frying them because he thinks they taste better and they're simply healthier.

This is Bayola's first foray into the culinary world, after working in real estate for the past 10 years, "I wanted to do something that made me happy and cooking does it for me. The opportunity came along to do what I love and I took it. For the first time, I can say that I love my job, and I am very grateful for that."

But the fate of the park is in limbo right now. The land was sold to a real estate developer and by the end of August, all the mobile homes are supposed to move out. However, for the foreseeable future, the two food trailers at the front of the property will stay (there's a taco trailer just down from Oye Chico).

Bayola says business at the park is picking up, "It gets better every day that I am open. I get repeat customers. I hope to stay at the park for a while."

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.