TORRINGTON — Rosa Vega de Puerto Rico, a bakery and restaurant, opened this week at 266 Main St., and the response to the food the owners prepare has been a happy surprise.

When he was a young man, owner Carlos Vega moved from Puerto Rico to Torrington when he was 15, and remembers being one of four or five other kids from the island.

“There weren’t a lot of us around at that time,” he said. “But the town has changed.”

In 2004, Vega opened a bodega in Torrington, and worked hard for four years to keep it going. He was on his own, though, and realized he couldn’t do it alone. So in spite of his success, the market closed in 2008. He also launched a record label, which he runs out of Manhattan.

Now, at 42, he and his girlfriend, Jennifer Rosa, have opened Rosa Vega de Puerto Rico, selling home-baked desserts made by Vega’s mother, and homemade food using traditional recipes.

The menu is simple for now: empanadas, tasty meat or vegetable hand-held pies; bacalaitos (fish, dipped in a special batter and deep fried); pernil, (rice and beans with chicken or pork); chicken sandwiches with spicy or mild toppings, and mofongo, a dish made with fried green plantains. For dessert, there’s homemade flan, the creamy custard; tembleque, a snowy-white coconut custard; tres leche cake, pastries, and other specialties made by Vega’s own mother, who is helping out as the business gets on its feet.

On Friday afternoon, as Vega and Rosa caught their breath after a busy lunch hour, two sisters arrived with their family for a late lunch. Tracey Kittle, from Torrington, ordered pernil with chicken; Kimberley Kittle, a Torrington native who now hails from Milford, had the same.

Their companion Cedric Reed also ordered the pernil with pork, and his granddaughter, 7-year-old Lilliana Alicea, asked for an empanada. “Oh, we’re out of them right now,” Vega said apologetically. “I’ll make you something else.”

Kimberly Kittle sighed happily when her food arrived, and seated herself at a side counter on a stool to eat. “It’s amazing,” she said, waving her fork at her plate. “It’s home-cooked food, not like anything from a restaurant. It’s like home.”

Reed agreed. “It’s fantastic,” he said, digging in to his pork and rice. “It smells good.”

Opening Rosa Vega this year was good timing, Vega said, because there are more people from Puerto Rico and other Central American countries who appreciate food like his. “The town was ready for us,” he said.

“People love it,” he said. “They say it reminds them of home. There was a lady here the other day, and when she bit into a little cupcake my mother made, she started crying. She said, ‘Oh my God, it tastes like my grandmother’s.’ She was so happy.

“All the recipes we use are from my family,” Vega said. “It’s all special, but it’s food people like.”

While Rosa and Vega chatted with their guests, the phone rang. It was a customer asking if they provided catering services. “Just like that,” Vega said, shaking his head. “They want to sit down with us, and have us do the whole meal, for a wedding.”

With all this positive reinforcement, Vega feels confident that the new business will succeed. “We’re just getting started,” he said. “We are putting our daily menu on Facebook, and we’ll keep having new things for people to try. We’ll have a menu eventually.”

The couple are putting in long hours, a tired Rosa said. They are up by 3 a.m. to open at 4:30 a.m. “We were going to close in the afternoon, but now he wants to stay open for dinner too,” she said.

“I want to get people on their way home from work,” Vega said. “So we’ll stay open late. We’ll see how it goes.”

Rosa Vega de Puerto Rico can be reached at 860-201-4933. Visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Rosa-Vega-bakery-276349183300537/