Ex-Stockton nurse opens Filipino fast food joint

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Michelle Domingo claims her Stockton restaurant is the first to sell Filipino empanadas in the United States

STOCKTON, Calif. — Michelle Domingo has always had a passion for cooking.

When she emigrated to the United States in 2015, she brought her family recipe of Filipino empanadas with her.

“It’s a very famous food in the Philippines. Everyone craves it,” Domingo said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she decided to put aside her career as an intensive care unit nurse to be home and keep her children safe.

Her husband is also a nurse, so he continued to work.

“While I was staying home with the kids, I was thinking how could I help my husband make ends meet,” she said.

It was then that she started cooking for her family and friends and was encouraged to follow her passion.

“‘It’s really a food that we can’t find anywhere,'” Domingo said.

So, last summer, she took her empanadas to a festival in Tracy.

According to her, in two hours, she sold.

“That’s when I realized and saw the potential of the business,” Domingo said.

On Friday, his idea became reality. She held the grand opening of her fast food restaurant in the Weberstown shopping center in Stockton.

It came with a ribbon cutting courtesy of the Stockton Chamber of Commerce.

Called “Delish Cravings by Michelle”, it offers four types of empanadas as well as specialty Korean corn dogs.

Currently, she has two employees and five family members helping her.

She even booked a showcase in advance for local desert makers to sell their treats.

“We’ve been through the pandemic. A lot of restaurants have been hit really hard. They’ve had a hard time. Some of them have closed. But, now, we’re seeing new businesses coming out of the pandemic that are opening. We’re here to celebrate new businesses and really make sure they thrive,” said Timm Quinn, CEO of the Stockton Chamber of Commerce.

At the grand opening, Ella Holman, a local real estate agent who is now a new fan of Michelle’s empanadas, was in attendance.

“The crispness, texture and filling are just so tasty,” Holman said.

What’s next for Domingo?

She wants to start a chain of Delish stores everywhere.

So maybe one day Filipino empanadas will be rolled out to a neighborhood near you.

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