From trendy food truck to tasty takeout hotspot, La Tapatia has grown into a full-service Roseville restaurant specializing in the fresh, authentic flavors of the Guadalajara region of Mexico.
Martha Ponce started the food truck business nearly a decade ago, serving tacos, burritos, and Mexican specialties drawing on the flavorful recipes passed down from generation to generation in her family. Tapatío/tapatia actually refers to someone from Guadalajara.
Her son Abraham Ponce Delgadillo took over the business in 2016, guided it through the pandemic with a brisk takeout business run out of a commercial kitchen in Roseville, and opened in its current restaurant location in January 2021.
The current site, in the former New Bohemia at 2730 Snelling Ave N, has a spacious and bright dining room with patio seating in the warm weather months.
“The community has really stood behind us, especially during our takeout phase. We did well enough that when a restaurant spot in Roseville opened up, my real estate broker called me right away,” Abraham said. “We went and looked at it, and I knew at first sight it was going to be a good home, our permanent home in Roseville.”
They serve multiple styles of tacos, flights of specialty salsas, and regional delicacies including Torta Ahogada, Alambre, and Tres Leches Cake.
Martha still stops by to make sure traditional recipes are being followed and the flavors are spot-on. She also tends to the bursts of flower blooms on the patio.
“She is still hands-on, 100 percent,” Abraham said. “It’s her passion. It’s her baby, and it’s her name. The food that is being served, it’s part of her identity. It’s a labor of love.”
“Mexican food is humble. It’s good home-cooked meals. It’s everything my mom learned from her grandma and her aunt when she grew up in Mexico. She is very particular about all the details – how you cut the cilantro and the size and type of the onions. It’s really important to us to source good quality produce for our food. That’s what will shine.”
A new happy hour and late-night menu are in the works. Abraham said they will pursue their full liquor license so they can add some craft cocktails to their offerings.
“Guadalajara is home to tequila and the blue agave plant,” he said.
It’s not just about the cuisine. Abraham said he’s also focused on creating good jobs in the community, starting workers above minimum wage, especially the behind-the-scenes kitchen staff.
“I come from the service industry myself. I am an immigrant. I’ve worked in the kitchen. I was a dishwasher and a bartender,” Abraham said.
To make sure all families feel welcome in his restaurant, he looks to hire bilingual servers.
“When Hispanic families come in, I want to make sure they feel at home. If they have questions, I want someone to know their language,” Abraham said.
Abraham said he’s thrilled to be part of a new wave of locally owned restaurants opening in the diversifying suburbs.
“Roseville is going in the right direction,” he said.
“Roseville has been really good to us and that’s why it was important for us to stay in Roseville.”
La Tapatia is located at 2730 Snelling Ave N #200, Roseville, MN.
Click here to visit La Tapatia's website.