Latin House: Chefs Talk Sangria Don Chu and New Pines Location
If you've ventured to Latin House Burger & Taco Bar, we hope you've ordered the sangria. Since January 2013, Latin House has been the proud sole purveyor of Sangria Don Chu, a tasty libation made weekly by Maria Rita Rivera. Originally a "stalker" of chef Michell Sanchez's Latin House food truck (that's what Sanchez lovingly calls the most loyal fans), Rivera befriended Chef M and he became a great ally for her now-growing sangria business.
Photo by Cassie Glenn The "Goddess of Sangria," Maria Rita Rivera.
Short Order sat down with Rivera over a glass (or two) of sangria to talk about her boozy biz and plans for the future. And Chef M stopped by to reveal news about a second Latin House Burger & Taco Bar, set to open soon in Pembroke Pines.
New Times: The most obvious question: How'd you get into the sangria making business?
Maria Rita Rivera: Everything started in Puerto Rico. My big sister owns a restaurant there, Meson La Guitarra, and she makes sangria. When I came to Miami ten years ago for my husband's job, I started doing little bottles as gifts to my friends, and everyone loved it. They started calling me the "Goddess of Sangria." One of my friends was Chef M, so that is how we got in here. Every week I prepare a batch and they serve it.
So the recipe is from your sister?
The original recipe was my sister's, and I added some other flavors to it and made it my own. It's a secret family recipe with some wine and natural flavors. I can't tell you more -- sorry.
Where does the name come from?
Don Chu is my father, so that's how everything started. My father asked my sister to make some sangria for the restaurant in Puerto Rico, so we named it after him.