Meet Rodrigo Cappagli, the chef and owner of Maria Luisa Empanadas in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood.
Rodrigo remembers his grandmother, the namesake of his restaurant, making hundreds of empanadas for their Sunday family gatherings. The sounds of Tango music playing and the delicious smells that seeped from her kitchen live on through each batch of empanadas Rodrigo makes and shares with the world. The authentic Argentinian empanadas served at Maria Luisa are packed with a variety of mouthwatering fillings.
Learn more about Maria Luisa Empanadas in this week’s business spotlight Q&A!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s your favorite part about the community your business is in & why?
Being part of the Seattle community is the incredible diversity and the warmth of its people. Seattle’s rich diversity of cultures means that there’s always an appetite for authentic, globally-inspired dishes. I love that our empanadas resonate with both those familiar with Argentinian cuisine and those trying it for the first time. The support and feedback from locals have been instrumental in our growth. Their passion for supporting local businesses and their love for food that tells a story make every day in the kitchen a joy. It’s an honor to share a piece of my heritage with such a receptive and vibrant community.
Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?
Choosing to #SpendLikeItMatters strengthens our local community. At Maria Luisa Empanadas, every purchase reflects the traditions and passion we infuse into our craft. By supporting local businesses, patrons ensure that unique cultural stories, like ours, continue to flourish and define Seattle’s vibrant character.
As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried?
Oh, for sure! Once, I had to hand-make 500 empanadas without any machinery or extra hands. Worked till 3am because they were due the next morning. Talk about a long night! 😅
What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
Even though we’re a small company, we dream big. Every empanada we craft is like laying a brick toward building our dream giant, and it’s all made with heaps of love.
What are some of your favorite local businesses and why?
Anything else you’d like us to know about you and your business?
I’m deeply committed to honoring the legacy of Maria Luisa Empanadas by taking it to new heights. We’re excited and hopeful as we prepare to welcome you to our upcoming new location soon!