Upstate food cart owners turn reality TV food court winners - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate food cart owners turn reality TV food court winners

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SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The orders were stacking up at Tirado's Empanadas and More at WestGate Mall in Spartanburg.

"We were on a reality TV show and we won. I couldn't believe it," Trish Tirado said.

She's a co-owner of the new restaurant that went form a food cart in downtown Greenville to the food court in the mall.

"God has really blessed and it has really transformed our lives," Trish Tirado said.

The Tirados' flair for Puerto Rican and international spices earned their empanadas a spot on the reality TV show Food Court Wars on the Food Network.

"To taste Puerto Rican food for the first time - and many people have tasted it for the first time here - that they were like wow, Puerto Rican food is really good!" Trish Tirado said.

And she knows the employees well. Her husband, son and daughter Jenn Tirado work behind the counter.

"I would say at least 75 to 90 percent said we came by specifically because I saw this on Food Network," Jenn Tirado said.

The Tirados competed against another team and took top prize, which was a food court restaurant and free rent for a year.

"All our recipes are family recipes. Whether it's from my grandfather, my uncles, my aunts," Jenn Tirado said. Even the artwork is handpainted by her cousin.

So now the Tirados say they are serving up what they call the most special recipe of all, homemade dishes from scratch, all packed with love.

"It's one of those things where you never expect it's going to happen to you," Jenn Tirado said.

The Tirados opened their restaurant Monday and said they are overwhelmed with all of the community support. You can catch their episode of Food Court Wars Sunday at 2 p.m. on the Food Network. 

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