wo Sisters food truck parlaying popularity into downtown venture

NEW BEDFORD – Determination, patience, good food and a bit of luck have taken one local food truck to the next level with the expansion to a new restaurant in the heart of the city’s downtown.

The energetic entrepreneur, Caitlyn Fontes of New Bedford, established the eatery, named Two Sisters Express, early last October at the corner of Tarklin Hill Road and Ashley Hill Road with the help of her younger sister, Courtney Fontes.

Now, a year later, the former Paddy’s Hot Dog Shop at 753 Purchase St. is being transformed into the new home of Two Sisters’ first brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Caitlyn Fontes, who has extensive experience in the hospitality industry and worked in the front of house in many popular restaurants, is a former social worker and children’s book author. She is the sole business proprietor of the restaurant, and works closely with her younger sister, a graduate of the culinary arts program at Bristol Community College, as she gains additional culinary experience and explores additional career options.

“The one thing is that I’ll never change the name of my business,” said Caitlyn Fontes, adding that the two energetic sisters achieved immediate success when the food truck opened and long lines started forming once word got out about the restaurant’s delicious Portuguese-American cuisine.

“Two Sisters really took off. It brought us a lot of joy to see the line of people waiting in the cold and in the snow and in the rain,” she said. “It was craziness.”

She adds that the busy eatery processed its 30,000th order just six months after the restaurant debuted.

Fontes says that it became evident shortly after the food truck opened that the five-member staff needed to create a fully operational small commissary, just like a brick and mortar restaurant.

“What we needed was a small eatery of our own,” she said. “We needed to establish our new little homeland.”

In early October, Fontes will launch a small restaurant with an eclectic menu that will feature specialties such as chicken and shrimp Mozambique, Bife a Portuguesa (Steak and Egg Portuguese style), cacoila, chourico and peppers, Portuguese cod cakes, kale soup and other nourishing, home-style dishes.

For dessert, the restaurant will offer mouth-watering Malasadas, Portuguese rice pudding, and other treats.

“I made up a lot of the recipes on my own,” Fontes said, adding that she enjoys creating new dishes and tweaking old time-honored favorites.

“We have something for everyone’s palate,” she said, adding that everything served in the food truck will be available in the restaurant.

There will also be weekly specials and that her goal is to serve delicious food at affordable prices that the entire family will enjoy.

And the restaurant’s opening doesn’t spell the end of the Two Sisters food truck.

“We are booked until next year for events,” said Fontes, adding that the now-famous truck can be rented for weddings, birthday parties, baptisms and other celebrations, and was recently hired by Pepsi Cola to appear at a sales event.

“I’m just grateful for the success that we’ve enjoyed,” Fontes said, adding that she has made many new friends since the food truck was launched and has been overwhelmed by the support she’s received from the community.

“People have been so sweet,” she said.

The food truck’s generator was stolen last January, she said, and the community came together — without her knowledge — and helped her to purchase a new machine.

“That was a gratifying experience,” she said.

Fontes shares that she’s excited about the new venture.

“I want Two Sisters to be a fixture in the City of New Bedford and a thriving part of the city’s culinary scene,” she says.

The plan for Two Sisters, at 753 Purchase St., New Bedford, is to be open daily 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and open Thursdays through Saturdays, 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. for window service only.

For more information, call (508) 264-8784; or visit Two Sisters on Facebook.