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  • Writer's pictureGFP Staff


Updated: Mar 30, 2023

It’s almost springtime! There’s nothing like a seasonal menu of fresh ingredients and unique flavors to kick off the gorgeous days ahead — and no one does that better than Bandidas.

Who are the Bandidas? 

Gio and Gabriella Favilli-Vigoreaux, formerly Casita Verde (Nicaraguan fare) and Vicky G’s (handcrafted empanadas with unique fillings and other “twists on Latin food.”) are the couple behind Bandidas pop-up cafe. About a year and a half ago, they joined ventures and closed Vicky G’s (as they began offering their hand-formed empanadas through Bandidas) and continue to use Casita Verde as a subsidiary for provisions like hot sauce and kombucha.


Gio trained at the International Culinary Center in New York and worked in restaurants and bakeries in the city after graduating. She also worked in food media and recipe development for Vice Media’s food department, Munchies. The pandemic prompted a move back to Florida, where she started Casita Verde as a creative outlet and a way to introduce Polk County to Nicaraguan food.

Gabriella grew up in Winter Haven. After attending the University of Miami, she moved to New York for culinary school. She spent the next eight years working in restaurants, food media, and recipe development in test kitchens for Epicurious, Good Housekeeping, and Cherry Bombe before returning home in 2020. She pulled from her Puerto Rican roots and formal culinary training to start Vicky G’s.

What they Offer 

Bandidas’ bites are a mix of Gio’s Nicaraguan and Gabriella’s Puerto Rican backgrounds, their formal culinary training, and what they’ve learned working in the industry. “From pop-up markets to wholesale pastries, our menus are ever-evolving to highlight the seasons and our current inspirations,” according to their website. 

Foodies can order online or find Bandidas on Saturdays at the Winter Haven Farmers Market and Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market. You can’t go wrong with an empanada, hippie scone, focaccia bun, or any of their sweet treats. The pop-up cafe recently entered the wholesale market at Agape Agora in Winter Haven, offering goods like whole wheat salted chocolate chunk cookies, pear and pistachio galettes, and more. 


For an extra special treat, check out Gio’s zine, Paloma! The bi-annual zine is hand-stapled and block printed by Gio and includes a collection of photojournalism, recipes, art, and poetry. Look out for the next issue on the Bandidas website.

The Future 

The couple envisions Bandidas as a local bakery selling beautiful seasonal pastries, among other things. There is no set timeline for a brick-and-mortar Bandidas shop, but we’re crossing our fingers it isn’t too far in the future!

FB @BandidasLKLD

IG @bandidas_lkld

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