Juan and Maria arrived in Napa in 1989 in search of a better life and now they spend long hours behind the bar during lunch and dinner. Although it was hard for them to adjust to being far from their families, the perseverance with which they crossed the border continued within them as they opened Las Palmas.
Juan Lopez, from Valle de Santiago, Guanajuato, Mexico, could not handle working in the vineyards of the valley. The alternative was to apply for a job in restaurants. His first experience in the kitchen was at Marie Calendars and like a majority of the restauranteur immigrants, he started as dish washer and moved on to preparing. To keep the story short, in Las Palmas there is a great variety because he has worked in French restaurants (Domaine Chandon, Bistro Jeanty), Japanese food (Sakatine) and Mexican (Compadres), among other places. Little by little he has put his own flavor in the dishes that are now found on Yajome Street.
Maria Lopezn gives Las Palmas the Guantajuato flavors. She learned to cook during the course of her life. Maria’s mom, Sara, did not always have enough chiles for the mole or enough meat for the tamales because of the poverty they were in but Sara managed to feed Maria and the other eight children. Maria learned to cook the basic recipes from her mom and enriched the food based on availbility of ingredients. Now with a large and well stocked kitchen, she prepares her mole with grilled chicken, makes pork tamales, and once in a while serves her delicious Menudo (tripe soup).
If you want to prove how well they have learned to cook, come visit us when you can (except Sundays.