BELLEVUE, Idaho – Michael Mandez is passionate about food. He owned a seafood restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, before moving to the United States in 2018 and opening the Wood River Tortilla Factory in 2019.
Mandez has faced challenges like all during the pandemic, but now his tortillas are being shipped to four different cities, many local restaurants in Bellevue. He and his wife produce at least 2,500 corn and flour tortillas every day.
Mandez and his family moved to the United States to escape the violence that endangered him and his family living in Mexico.
“Tijuana is kind of a dangerous town and I’m just looking for a quiet place to raise my son and that’s why we thought of leaving everything in Tijuana and trying to do something here in the United States,” said- he declared.
Mandez left his home, family, friends and restaurant behind so he, his wife and two sons could live a safer life. Her eldest son is now serving in the military, and her 10-year-old son can now grow up safely here in Idaho.
“My son is growing up safe, and I feel safe, you know. He can take the bus after school, he can walk around town,” Mandez said.
With newfound safety and security in the United States, Mandez can now focus on his passion for food and bring fresh, local, gem-quality produce.
“Everyone comes to me talking about tortillas. Everyone loves tortillas because we’re local because we use local produce and because I don’t know if people like fresh tortillas,” he said.
The Wood River Tortilla Factory makes nearly 80 pounds of corn tortillas and 120 pounds of flour tortillas each day, sometimes even going above and beyond to accommodate special requests.
Although Mandez is passionate about food, he says his desire to make fresh, local tortillas comes from the support his community shows,
“I just want to work hard and just deliver a good quality product for the community and that’s how I say thank you because I don’t know, this place opened the door for me from the start and I really feel happy.”
If you want to order tortillas, click here.