Gracia Romeo and her husband, Michael Rangel (also owner of Toma Dos Videography), originally from Mexico City, moved to Sayulita from Guadalajara in 2012. Looking for a quiet lifestyle away from the big cities, a daily dose of surf (mostly for Michael) and an amazing sunset every night, they found that Sayulita fit the bill. In 2013, they opened La Empanaderia, which serves up a wonderful assortment of freshly baked empanadas.
Gracia, what made you and your husband want to open La Empanaderia in Sayulita?
After a few months in Sayulita, we noticed there were not really options for people that just wanted to grab a bite quickly and not spend a lot of time, money, or effort in the endeavor. My parents own a similar business in Guadalajara, so we thought the concept would work here too. We wanted to offer a good, fresh, affordable, and convenient bite, for people who didn't have a lot of time or just didn't feel like sitting in a restaurant to eat. Also, we enjoy being in Sayulita very much.
How did you both learn to make empanadas?
My parents taught us so that we could say it’s a family recipe.
What type of empanadas are offered at La Empanaderia?
The type of empanadas that we sell is called Pastes. They come from the Mexican state of Hidalgo and have a historical background. Many years ago, a British mining company came to work at a place called Real de Minas in Hidalgo. The workers came with their British pasties and introduced them to Mexican miners who thought it was a great food to take into the mines because of its convenient shape (they were able to grab the braid with their dirty hands and eat the rest). However, they didn’t like the fillings the English used, so they started using the British dough with Mexican stews. The traditional one is potatoes and ground beef. With time, Mexican pastes became a culinary experience.
What is your favorite empanada and why?
I don’t lie if I tell you that I love them ALL, and my favorite changes from time to time. Right now I love the one called Isabel (Poblano pepper with onions and corn), but my all time favorite is Chicken Mole.
This one is especially good because you won’t find this mole anywhere. It comes fresh made from my mother’s recipe.
The empanadas at La Empanaderia are always very fresh. Will you tell me more about this?
Yes! It is one of our core values – to offer fresh made food. That’s because we like to sell what we would like to buy. And we love to find fresh baked/prepared food always.
Do you offer catering? If so, will you share more about this?
We do. People come to us in advance and tell us how many, what fillings, dates, and all the specifics. When we cater, we can offer special fillings that we don’t have on our regular menu. So far we’ve done mostly weddings, but empanadas are great for any event.
Do you sell empanadas at Sayulita’s Mercado del Pueblo during high season? I remember someone selling them…
It’s us! We started going to Sayulita's Mercado del Pueblo since our first season open back in 2013. We are now regular vendors there. We love market season. We are also in La Cruz’s and San Pancho’s farmers market.