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Maria Empanada Lands $3.5 Million Investment To Scale Up

Local restaurant secures Series A round from Colorado Impact Fund


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The Colorado Impact Fund, a private equity firm invested $3.5 million in Maria Empanada, a casual Denver-based Argentinian eatery with three locations in the metro area. With the new funding, the team aims to expand the restaurant within Denver and beyond.

"CIF's investment means I get to take that dream to the next level – to drive growth of new Maria Empanada locations," says the brand's founder Lorena Cantarovici. "There is such a strong demand for craft-casual food and Maria Empanada is continuing its mission to become to become the nation's leading artisanal empanada restaurant concept."

Cantarovici spent your young life in Buenos Aires, later pursuing the American dream and moving to Denver in 2001, starting up in 2010 to hand-crafting empanada and selling them out of her garage and for small catering jobs.

"Lorena Cantarovici is emblematic of the type of entrepreneur CIF supports, says Grace Oliva of CIF, a Vestar Capital affiliate that primarily focuses on making local investments with companies that have a community impact. "We have been incredible impressed by Lorena's ability to develop an on-trend, differentiated and highly scalable craft casual concept. CIF is excited to partner with a talented and dynamic female entrepreneur. Supporting female and minority-led businesses that have the potential for high growth and profitability is central to CIF's mission."

Since, her flavor-packed pockets – of which there are 40-plus flavors – have taken off in Greenwood Village, Stanley Marketplace and off of South Broadway locations.

Cantarovici has won the U.S. Small Business Administration's 2017 Colorado Small Business Person of the Year award, Zagat's "12 hottest new bakeries in America," been recognized as a Colorado Company to Watch and featured on the Food Network. 

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ColoradoBiz staff

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