Craving a change from the corporate world, Yordanys searches Craigslist and sees a food truck for sale. He grew up around the restaurant his father owned, is familiar with the food truck culture, and realizes that Greenville has an appetite for a fresh cuisine. He and Eridania decide to purchase the truck and begin serving Dominican food in Greenville.
Yordanys works with the city of Greenville to obtain the required permits for operating a food truck. He is one of the first people to receive a food truck permit in Greenville.
Yordanys and Eridania decide to name the food truck “Villa Verde” — which means “Greenville” in Spanish. The name honors both the section of the town in La Romana where they grew up AND their adopted hometown in eastern North Carolina.
Yordanys rents property at the corner of Fifth and Harding streets near the East Carolina University campus in preparation to serving food to the late-night crowd.
Yordanys opens the Villa Verde food truck for the first time on the evening of the last Saturday of the month. It’s dark and rainy. He serves less than 10 customers before he starts giving out free tacos to entice students to try his food.
Two ECU students who love his food set up a Twitter account for Villa Verde. Foodies post photos of their food to Instagram and take selfies with Yordanys, who they refer to as “Jay.”
By mid-December, the Villa Verde Twitter account has 37,000 followers.
Fueled by social media, the Villa Verde food truck begins attracting long lines and selling out of food nightly.
The best seller is the pressed Cuban sandwich made with pork that’s roasted for 14 hours, ham, mustard, pickles and Swiss cheese on french bread.
The students request nachos and queso dip, so Yordanys adds them to the menu.
The Villa Verde food truck begins traveling around Greenville, serving up Dominican food to a growing crowd of foodies.
The food truck parks on Fifth Street and attracts throngs of ECU students and late-night downtown revelers; in front of Tropicana Supermarket on Memorial Drive and garners raves from patrons in the Hispanic community; at the Uptown Greenville National Night Out Food Truck Rodeo, selling out of food in only two hours; and at two summer baseball tournaments at Elm Street Park, where it feed both locals and visitors.
Yordanys and his family open a brick-and-mortar Villa Verde restaurant at 2601 E. 10th St.
The Latin American-flavored fare includes best sellers from the food truck. The menu also includes traditional Dominican fare like Pernil Plate with slow-roasted pork shoulder, rice and Dominican salad made with rainbow kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, red cabbage and radicchio; beef, chicken or cheddar cheese empanadas; sauteed vegetable sandwiches; grilled chicken plates; fried plantain sandwiches; steak sandwiches; and fried or grilled pork chops.
Villa Verde adds landscaping and benches with palm trees in large planters in front of the restaurant.
Villa Verde’s menu of Dominican specialties expands with the addition of grilled lobster; chivo (goat) stew; calamari; made-to-order rice dishes; and asopao, a hearty gumbo-style stew with a choice of chicken, shrimp or lobster.
Villa Verde builds a bar and adds beers on tap. Local craft beers on the menu include Greenville’s Uptown Brewing Company and Pitt Street Brewing Company, Duck-Rabbit from Farmville, and Mother Earth from Kinston.
Villa Verde adds nonalcoholic pina coladas, served in hollowed-out pineapples, to the menu.
In honor of its first anniversary on 10th Street, Villa Verde opens a new patio for dining.
After Hurricane Matthew impacts Greenville and the surrounding area, Yordanys and community volunteers take the Villa Verde food truck to devastated areas to provide food for victims and rescue workers.
Villa Verde is voted Best New Restaurant in Greenville by readers of The Greenville Times.
Villa Verde adds new fine dining options including filet mignon medallions and fresh seafood paella with lobster, shrimp, calamari and mussels.
Villa Verde is invited to serve its food inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium all season for East Carolina University home football games.
Villa Verde’s menu continues to grow with the addition of seafood options including Yellowfin Tuna Ceviche, Shrimp Ceviche, Blackened Tuna, and Salmon. Other new menu items include skirt steak wrap and rib-eye steak.
To mark the second anniversary of its 10th Street location, Villa Verde briefly offers Saturday brunch. Since the first brunch coincides with Veterans Day, all members of the Armed Services eat free.
The restaurant purchases a state-of-the-art coffee brewer and begins serving coffee roasted by Greenville’s Blackbeard Coffee Roasters.
Yordanys and the Villa Verde staff are featured on WNCT-TV newscast for their mission to feed hot meals to migrant workers in the fields in Pitt and Greene Counties. Funding is provided by a local group of Christian business leaders know as C-12.
Villa Verde holds its first Christmas party for the community, with visits from Santa! Patrons are invited to bring ornaments to hang on the huge outdoor Christmas tree on display in front of the restaurant. Yordanys leads a tree-lighting ceremony with Santa.
Villa Verde unveils a revamped menu with new additions including Chickpea Soup, Dominican Paella (with no seafood!), Skirt Steak Rice, Roasted Garlic Grouper, Veggie Lovers Asopao, Whole Lobster, coconut flan and pineapple rum cake.
WITN-TV films Villa Verde’s new 60-second commercial, along with a couple of other advertising spots.
Villa Verde begins offering a 12-minute lunch menu on March 12, including some of the restaurant’s most popular lunch items.