MEADOW LAKE—A pair of local entrepreneurs have combined two New Mexican culinary staples — chile and tortillas — to create a new local favorite.
Meadow Lake residents Angela and Randy Mendoza have experience with selling New Mexican food before — they were the minds behind selling sopaipillas in local grocery stores.
“How do you make New Mexican food new? I found a way,” Angela Mendoza said with a laugh.
“At first, I was going to open up my own restaurant and make homemade tortillas, but I couldn’t find the money or the people who could help me.”
Instead, she opted to make the red and green chile tortillas at her house and sell them to friends and neighbors.
Mendoza sites the New Mexico Small Business Development Center as a major resource for the couple, helping them create a business plan.
“There’s a lot of red tape when you really don’t need it. By the time you go through all that, you’re exhausted,” Mendoza said. “I didn’t have time for all that because I work; I have to pay the bills.”
Mendoza started going to local stores and reading where items were manufactured. She learned from her experience with the sopaipillas that all she had to do was find a company to make them.
Eventually, she found a home for her idea at Casa Rica Tortilla Factory in Plainview, Texas.
“This owner, he is so helpful. He’s given me a lot of information and has guided me,” she said. “He doesn’t have to because he’s just my manufacturer but he loves my product.”
The next step was finding the chile. Mendoza made a call to her friend in Hatch and convinced the company to supply the chile. It was important to her that they support local business owners when creating the product.
“We all have to help each other because no one is going to tell you what to do or where to go from here to there,” Mendoza said. “If we don’t help each other, it makes things hard.”
The couple decided to call their product Rosie’s New Mexican Tortillas in honor of their mothers, who were both named Rosie.
Angela recalled her life before moving to Valencia County, when she lived in what is now referred to as the International District in Albuquerque.
“Both of our mothers were single mothers, taking care of their kids, trying to do what they could,” she said. “When my mom was going to school and going to work, I was running the streets doing drugs and all that. We were not part of society in a good way.
“I went to church, got saved and God changed my life, and I wanted to do something with my new life. I quit partying and drinking and doing drugs. I have a purpose, a clear mind and I want to help people.”
The best advice that she received and gives is simply her experience with manufacturing the first time around in 2013 when she and her husband were selling sopaipillas.
“When you’re looking for advice on how to build a house, you don’t go ask a baker. You want to ask someone who’s already done what you’ve done and succeeded at it,” Mendoza said.
She currently has a trademark application pending for her creation to be New Mexico’s gourmet tortilla.
Mendoza encourages young entrepreneurs to not be afraid to approach people and put themselves out there.
“Just because someone is in a high position doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk to you. Do it in the right way and be prepared,” Mendoza said.
La Michoacana de Los Lunas is selling nachos and taquitos made from Mendoza’s tortillas, and The Village Cafe is testing out the tortillas in their enchiladas.
She said Costco will allow her to sell the chile tortillas and sopaipillas.
For more information on the red and green chile tortillas, visit the company’s Facebook page and search Rosie’s New Mexican Tortillas.
The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.