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  • Writer's pictureSauk SBDC

Leo's Marvelous Bites

In a heartwarming tale of creativity and family, Celia Fernandez, one of the owners and main cook of Leo's Marvelous Bites has built a reputation for her mouth-watering cuisine that many love. With her natural talent for cooking, Fernandez has developed a unique ability to read recipes and add her spin to them, often with a Puerto Rican twist.

Leo's Marvelous Bites is a family-owned restaurant managed by Fernandez and her brother and sister-in-law, David and Violet Solis. The restaurant is named in honor of Fernandez's late brother, Leoner "Leo" Melendez, a big fan of Marvel Comics.

Challenge: In August 2023, Violet Solis sought assistance from SBDC to learn about the registration procedures required to establish a new restaurant. She believed that the Sauk Valley area was craving Caribbean cuisine.

How Illinois SBDC helped: Business Advisor Pam Clodfelter provided Violet with information on registering their business with the state and offered market research and business planning resources.

Result: In November 2023, Leo's Marvelous Bites opened its doors in the Sauk Valley area with a tremendous response from the community. The restaurant's grand opening was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony a month later, which approximately 200 people attended.

Leo's Marvelous Bites is the result of Celia's passion, who started with a small pop-up food tent for events and farmers' markets in the area. Her cuisine and creativity with food quickly won her a loyal following of foodie fans, which helped her restaurant get off to a strong start. The restaurant's menu offers a variety of mouth-watering dishes made with the freshest ingredients.

Learn More: To learn more about Leo’s Marvelous Bites, find them on Facebook or visit them at 221 W 1st St Dixon, IL 61021.

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