- Family Owned
- Produced in Minneapolis, MN by La Perla.
- La Perla
José and Noemi opened La Perla in 1999. José Payan Sr., a native of the Mexican state of Morelos, came from a family with a passion for fresh tortillas. José’s mother had always dreamed of owning her own tortilla factory.
When José came to America at the age of 14 to find work, his journey first took him to Houston, TX and then to Chicago, IL, working on a siding crew. After three frigid Chicago winters, José moved to Kennet Square, Pennsylvania to work as a mushroom picker. It was there that he met and married his wife Noemi while visiting New Jersey, a native of Puerto Rico.
By the 1990s the Payan family had grown to include five children with a sixth on the way. The family relocated to Minneapolis where José and Noemi worked long hours at various low-paying jobs to support their growing family.
They dreamed of owning their own business someday, but what kind of business would it be? One day it dawned on José that there was nowhere to get fresh tortillas in the north, and immediately it made sense to realize his mother’s dream, and share their family tradition that a meal isn’t a meal without a tortilla.
A "REAL" TORTILLA FACTORY
In 2002, José and Noemi went back to the bank for a loan nearly six times larger than their first. They were going to open a “real” tortilla factory in St. Paul’s east side. The Payan’s got to work making the freshest, most authentic handmade tortillas in the region, and soon they started to supply grocery stores and restaurants. After just 2 years, in 2004, there was no avoiding it: they had outgrown their space, and needed a new space that would be able to grow with them, and not just sustain the business.