LUBBOCK, Texas — Seven years ago, Marienid Penalbert took a chance on herself and left Puerto Rico for the Hub City for better opportunities.

Penalbert has expressed her Puerto Rican culture to Lubbockites for the last 7 years describing her people as, “very happy people. We love to feed people. We are bubbly. And it’s a culture that we’re very familiar. We love to welcome, everyone. And that’s part of who I am.”

With the love for cooking, she took it upon herself to start feeding her coworkers when she first moved here.

“I am 100% Puerto Rican, but in a new home.” Penalbert said.

The feedback she got from her coworkers was that she should do something with her cooking.

Penalbert said, “for me was like an opportunity not just to have a Puerto Rican food but to show people what Puerto Rican food is about.”

That conversation started Ricos Empanadas a year ago.

She said she’s created a new environment for herself and her family by fussing her new home [Lubbock] with her island [Puerto Rico].

She has now taken all opportunities and has now started a new business called ‘La Placita.”

“It is like a baby for me that I can be me express who I am my culture. So I don’t miss so much me Placita and Puerto Rico,” Penalbert said.

Penalbert will make La Placita a place where people can go and enjoy a nice meal, music and just feel like a family.

She left everything back in Puerto Rico to work for everything she has today.

Penalbert said anything is possible and her slogan has always been, “dreams come true. and really I believe that if you work hard, you will make your dreams come true and I understand how hard it is.”