Welcome to Deep in the Heart of Dallas! Our latest series, focused on sharing the stories of the Dallas community , follows local creatives through the city to learn about favorite spots, must-taste foodie finds and how the city inspires their work. Today, we're featuring Cindy Pedraza Puente, who co-owns CoCoAndre Chocolatier & Horchateria with her mother. Over the years the Oak Cliff shop has gained a great deal of notoriety and has become a community staple. Let's take a deep dive into Cindy's story!
What makes Dallas home?
It's my family of course. That's the biggest thing for me. I always say I want to leave and go to Mexico City, but because of them - I wouldn't. I would miss them. We're a very tight family.
Where's your favorite place to eat in Dallas?
It's a tiny little hole in the wall called Alebrijes Cafe. I'm always on the go and I don't have time to cook for myself. The owner, Ms. Sophia, cooks like she's your mom or your aunt. One of my favorite dishes is the enchiladas de pollo. She also makes a potato taco plate which is so good!
Tell us about a neighborhood you love.
There's a little tiny pocket of a neighborhood in Uptown that reminds me of Mexico City. It's right next to the street that Foxtrot Market is on. There are apartments up top. State Street Coffee is also over there. I haven't had a chance to sit down there yet.
What is your favorite Dallas memory?
Our Día de los Muertos event is my favorite Dallas memory. It brings me so much joy to put it together and see so many people and families out enjoying themselves without the presence of alcohol (laughs). The event we held in 2019 was the biggest one we ever had. It showed me how important CocoAndre is to this neighborhood. We did a super small, outdoor version of it in 2020 due to COVID. This year's event will still be outdoors, but we're going to host it with the Oak Cliff Cultural Center on Saturday, Oct.30 from 5-9 p.m. The focus will be more on performing arts instead of vendors. I think that's missing here in Oak Cliff. Click here to find out more
What are some ways you celebrate for Hispanic Heritage Month?
For our family, it's meals. Cooking a good meal together. Sitting down and actually talking to one another. As we're getting older, we have less of those moments.
What fun things do you have planned for the fall with Coco Andre?
We have two markets planned for October. We'll also be doing our Día de los Muertos themed chocolates. After 12 years in business, our chocolate skulls were picked up by Central Market, which is a huge deal for us because it represents our culture and our shop.
What has being a small business owner taught you about yourself?
That I'm stronger than I thought I was. You go through so many emotions as a small business owner. For a long time, I used to stress out and worry a lot. Finally, especially with the pandemic, I realized that I've grown and become stronger in my faith and knowing that we're going to be okay and taken care of.
What are you looking forward to next year?
My goal is to figure out a way to get our bottled horchata into different stores and major retailers. We kind of want to start pulling away from chocolate and start focusing more on items that resonate with Hispanic culture. I really see that being the future for us.
To learn more about Cindy, CocoAndre and what she's up to in Dallas, follow @ on Instagram: @cocoandre_chocolatier