We had the good fortune of connecting with Vanessa Rios and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vanessa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My initial intentions on starting my business was to have a big restaurant right off the bat. During this pandemic, many of us small business owners had to think on our toes and be creative with how we sell our food and interact with our customers. I saw a boom happen with the support of small business and knew that a pop up at different locations was the thing to do. I couldn’t have done it without the help of local food bloggers and local breweries. My business has skyrocketed and the demand is getting bigger. I am currently shopping for a permanent location but will keep doing pop ups for as long as I can.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My name is Vanessa Ríos, owner and founder of Mami’s Empanadas. I hand craft gourmet empanadas that are both savory and sweet. What sets me apart from others are my made from scratch dough, the fusion flavors and the variety of empanadas I offer. I am always challenging myself to create new flavors, I’ve made fillings from beef and cheese to guava cheesecake to a veggie medley with sweet plantain. I’ve since expanded my menu to include a spectacular double smash burger w/ hand cut yucca fries, Choripan (an Argentine street food staple) Asado basket and Ajiaco with arepas. I keep testing the waters and I am pleasantly surprised by the reactions from my customers. It has been a long road and has not been easy. I’ve been through many struggles personally and professionally. The food business is definitely not for someone who doesn’t have the drive or passion. What keeps me motivated is to serve the people good food that I pour my heart and soul into. My plans for opening a restaurant may have been delayed and the pandemic has definitely pushed many of us small business owners to use our imagination and creativity but in a way it was something I needed, an extra nudge if you will. I am forever grateful for the community and how we have come together to support one another. I wouldn’t have been able to continue serving my food hadn’t been for local food bloggers and local breweries for opening up their space to small pop ups like myself. I look forward to what the future holds for Mami’s Empanadas and can’t wait to continue serving a community near you.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely have a international food tour of all my favorite places. Monday- pick up some coffee and fresh donuts at Revolution Doughnuts. afternoon stroll through the GA Aquarium and pick up some Po Boys at the PoBoy shop in Decatur. Tuesday- definitely tacos and margaritas at Taqueria del Sol in Decatur for lunch and for dinner, Birria Tacos at El Indio Mexican Restaurant. Wednesday- nice walk up Stone Mtn. After we eat some fresh biscuits from Butterly Bisquits. Dinner at Purnima Bangladeshi food. Thursday- get a good massage at Treat Your Feet in Buckhead. Brunch at Sweet Melissa’s and dinner at Food Terminal. Friday- botanical gardens following a picnic at Piedmont Park and rent some bikes to tour the city. Tater tots and drinks at The Nook. Saturday- breakfast at Folk Art in Decatur, kayaking at Morgan Falls Overlook park, lunch at Jinya Ramen Bar and dinner and drinks at Calabar in Decatur Sunday- Bloody Mary’s at Einstein’s, lunch at Tasillis, dinner at fox bros bbq The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Definitely Donald Durant, Co-Owner of Sceptre Brewery.