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Hispanic Heritage Month: Peter Yñigo’s story, co-owner of Mi Apa

Mi Apa opened up in 2003 and has grown into being a Gainesville staple, with Gators of multiple generations coming back to visit with their families.
Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 6:02 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - During this Hispanic Heritage Month, we are celebrating Hispanic-Americans in North Central Florida who are contributing to the community.

This week, we share the story of Peter Yñigo who is the co-owner of Mi Apa Latin Cafe that has locations in Alachua and Gainesville

“We are the oldest Spanish restaurant in town, which is mind-blowing to me,” Yñigo said.

Mi Apa opened up in 2003 and has grown into being a Gainesville staple, with Gators of multiple generations coming back to visit with their families.

Before heading to Gainesville, Yñigo immigrated from Cuba to the United States with his family by boat when he was seven years old. He was born in the Pinar del Rio area of western Cuba and lived in a lower income household with his family.

“Dirt floors, restrooms were outside, outhouses, houses made out of palm,” he said.

Yñigo lived in South Florida for several years, later moving to Gainesville for a career opportunity. Gainesville was where he ended up meeting his wife Aurora. Together, they opened up La Aurora Latin Market in Gainesville.

“For us it was just a little connection to what we were raised under,” Yñigo said.

It was not long before they opened up Mi Apa and named it after Yñigo’s father.

“I think for us it started out as just having a place to go and try to bring some of that staple food and environment that we all missed,” Yñigo said.

17 years later, Mi Apa is still serving crispy pastelitos, warm tequeños and other Spanish food.

“I think for us it started out as just having a place to go and try to bring some of that staple food and environment that we all missed.”

As he works to open up a third location of Mi Apa in Jonesville, Yñigo said he wants to encourage other Hispanic-Americans of other generations to never give up on their dreams.

“It may not happen today but don’t lose focus and keep going,” he said.

TV20 is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by bringing you stories every week of Hispanic leaders who have made a positive impact in North Central Florida.

Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.

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