"I never expected that my pupusas were gonna be in Facebook, that my pupusas were gonna be in FourSquare, that my pupusas were gonna be in Google or at a happy hour at Firefox,” Luis Estrada proudly tells Mission Local of the Salvadoran catering business — and now full-time restaurant — he runs with his wife Zenaida Merlin.
That's D'Maize, which is open in the former Casa Sanchez space, a historic spot where the chip- and salsa-makers got their start. Estrada and Merlin got their own business running with a course through the Mission Economic Development agency. They then started working with with food incubator La Cocina, who connected the couple with caterers who pushed their pupusas to tech clients. They've been a hit.
After three-and-a-half years of perfecting their craft that way — he cooks, she does everything else —Estrada and Merlin were on the hunt for a brick-and-mortar. That came in the form of the Casa Sanchez space at 2778 24th Street. La Cocina co-signed the lease, and MEDA was able to offer an $80,000 loan.
While the couple will keep catering to local tech companies, a more lucrative business, D'Maize is open to all 6 days a week, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. They've eve got with22 employees, and that, it seems, is what makes Estrada really happy.
“When I came here [from El Salvador], no one gave me an opportunity,” he told Mission Local. "Now it’s time for us to give the opportunity to others."