Marco, Jinette, and Edmundo Meraz of Republica Empanada on Family and Mesa

Categories: Chef and Tell

republica-empanada-portrait-1.JPG
Lauren Saria
Marco, Jinette and Edmundo Meraz of Republica Empanada in Mesa
Marco, Jinette and Edmundo Meraz
Owners and chef
Republica Empanada
republicaempanada.com

This is part one of our interview with the Meraz family, the folks behind Republica Empanada, the Latin American eatery that opened in downtown Mesa in June. Owners Jinette (she's also the chef) and Edmundo join their son Marco, who serves as general manager, to talk about why they chose the midcentury building in downtown Mesa and how much the city has changed during the past four decades. Be sure to come back Tuesday for part two, when Marco tells the story about how Chris Bianco inspired him to open his own restaurant.

See also: Republica Empanada Will Bring Latin Comfort Food and South American Specialties to Downtown Mesa, June 21

Inside downtown Mesa's newly opened Republica Empanada restaurant, a brightly colored 10-by-10-foot mural covers a portion of the long wall with inset windows installed specifically to allow for natural light and a street view. The art is small enough -- and partially hidden behind one of eatery's low, four-person tables -- that on your first visit you might not even notice it. But the 100 square feet of paint might be the most interesting thing in the newly renovated building.

republica-empanada-mural.jpg
Lauren Saria
Lauren Lee's mural at Republica Empanada
The mural, painted by local artist Lauren Lee, depicts an orange and yellow Arizona sunset behind a pink portrait of the Four Peaks. The view is the one you'd see if you looked east from downtown. It serves as a backdrop for blue rolling waters of the Salt River canals and in the forefront stands an oxcart loaded with agave.

The traditional oxcart, or carreta, is Costa Rica's most famous craft. They were used to transport the country's coffee beans to market during the 1800s. In the mural, it is a symbol of Jinette Meraz, Republica Empanada's owner and chef, who was adopted from Costa Rica in 1964. Inside the cart, the agave plants represent her husband, Edmundo, who was born in Mexico and moved to Mesa just two years after his future wife. The couple's five children, all born in the East Valley, are present by way of the Arizona desertscape in the painting.

It's a perfect summation of the family history that runs through the entire restaurant.


Location Info

Republica Empanada

204 E. 1st Ave., Mesa, AZ

Category: Restaurant


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2 comments
ozgur.aksoy
ozgur.aksoy

But the 100 square feet of paint might be the most interesting thing in the newly renovated building oto anahtarı

daniablanco
daniablanco like.author.displayName 1 Like

so proud...I got a little emotional. Viva nuestra Costa Rica y Mesa tambien! 

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