It was a fantasy. A recurring series of flashbacks from a dreamy childhood in Argentina.
Empanadas. A swirl of memories that overlapped one another: making the sirloin steak empanadas by mother’s side for countless family gatherings; the impossibly creamy Corn/Humita empanadas made by Doña Teresa at the corner shop down the street in Buenos Aires; the wood-smoked chicken ones made by my godmother in the brick oven in her back yard in Cordoba; the immense, luscious Gallega/Tuna ones that the cranky Spaniard made on the other block. Memories of the constant gathering of people and laughter that always seemed to come together with empanadas. I couldn’t get it out of my head. That’s what I wanted. A place for people here in the U.S. to try empanadas. The ones of my childhood. I knew. I…just… knew… that if people would try them, once, just once, they would come back. That was the dream.
My only problem was that I was an accountant and former banker who never owned a restaurant. I didn’t speak English. I was in a country where there were no empanada customers, where the special dough to make empanadas could not be found. There was no money and no prospects to get money to begin such a thing. A fantasy. But I obsessed and researched the fantasy nonetheless. I went back to mother’s side and began cooking and folding. I went back to Buenos Aires, to Cordoba, to Mendoza, to the few remaining treasures of independent empanada shops that dotted the country. I furiously took notes. First on the back of napkins, then eventually in a note book, then multiple notebooks. Recipes, techniques, and yes, secrets.
I started small, making a dozen for a party. Then another dozen a week later.
All of a sudden, I was a supplier to a caterer, then two, then more. Moved the car out of the garage and bought an expensive oven, rented a commercial space. Sold the other car and put a down payment on dough-making equipment.
From that garage to a 900 sq. ft location to our main location on South Broadway and now the Tech Center.
We have received numerous awards, national food press coverage and accolades.
My nights are still restless. I can still taste my neighborhood in Argentina. I want you to taste it as well. Just once. Because I know what will happen when you do.