The Start Up Files is a series that aims to find out where good ideas come from and how they happen. Each fortnight we chronicle the journey of someone who brought their idea to life through the Renew Adelaide program. In this article, we chat to Daniella Guevara from La Popular Taqueria, an authentic Mexican restaurant.
Just over 10 years ago Daniella Guevara was a marine biologist working as the director of a marine park on the coast of Mexico. When she wasn’t working she was either cooking or planning what she was going to cook next. She soon realised her true passion was cooking and when she moved to Australia she saw it as an opportunity to pursue that passion.
For the first few years she lived in Queensland and worked in restaurants before making the move to Adelaide in 2013. Once of the first things she noticed when she moved to Adelaide was the lack of authentic Mexican foods options.
“Most of the Mexican food you can find in Adelaide is TexMex. We make the real thing, the tacos that we have in Mexico.”
Wanting to share her passion for tradition Mexican food for others, Daniella started hosting private dinner parties in her home with a venture she called Mi Mero Mole, a Mexican phrase that roughly translates to ‘that’s my specialty’. Daniella’s dinners ended up becoming popular and were often booked out. After running Mi Mero Mole for four years, Daniella started thinking about opening her own restaurant.
After being encouraged by family and friends, Daniella managed to secure a space in Port Adelaide through Renew Adelaide. Formerly a computer repair shop, the heritage building had been empty for ten years which meant it required a lot of work. Daniella and her husband got to work transforming the space, a process that took three months.
“We did all the tiling, we did all the kitchen. It was massive. But lots of people helped us which made it easier. Now it looks completely different than it did before.”
The interior of La Popular Taqueria was inspired by traditional Mexican restaurants, featuring white tiles with colourful signs and accents throughout the space. The menu consists of predominately tacos, made using traditional Mexican recipes including handmade tortillas which customers can watch being made from scratch.
It’s been two and a half years since La Popular Taqueria first launched and business is still going strong. Daniella says after the initial rush in their first month their customers have been steadily increasing over time with many becoming regulars.
“We have lots of regulars that love us and now with the COVID situation it’s been amazing because they have been supporting us all this time. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here now.”
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