La Empanada Gourmet

Gourmet company finds its way to Whole Foods

Golden, CO 80401

303-215-0875 | Visit Website

After having to close the doors to her Lakewood coffee shop, Churros and Company, in 2005, Yaya Lander turned to the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center for guidance on where to direct her entrepreneurial energies.

“The coffee shop was wonderful, but I lost everything, which is why I turned to the SBDC for marketing help and new ideas.”
Yaya Lander


Yaya’s first experience with the SBDC was through the 12-week NxLeveL Entrepreneurial Program for Start-Up Businesses. In the course, she worked with advisors to develop a business plan for her next business venture.

Following the course, Yaya continued to lean on the SBDC including consultants Jim Olp, Janina Calderon, Rosy McDonough, and Caroline Hanna who have each consulted Yaya on best business practices. In fact, she says she was just at the SBDC offices last week.

Today, five years later, Yaya’s ideas that were once just on paper, have blossomed into a unique business that focuses on three delicious items: Empanadas, Arepas , which is a gluten free corn bread and Chimichurri sauce, and. All three culinary treats are traditional South American foods that Yaya grew up eating in Caracas, Venezuela.

Her empanadas, arepas and chimichurri sauce can be found at Tony’s Market, the Cook’s Fresh Market, and many local events including the Vail Farmer’s Market, and the Colorado Wine Festival.
Most recently, her gluten free arepas can be found at five Whole Foods locations – the Belmar store in Lakewood, Cherry Creek, Hampden, Broadway and Baseline store in Boulder (with more store locations expected to come soon).

“In Venezuela and Colombia, arepas are much like bagels are here,” she said. “Arepas go with anything and they are gluten free.”

She explained that the AREPAS are purchased in prebaked packages of six. You simply defrost the arepas, put them in a toaster, open it like you would a piece of pita bread, and then stuff it with your choice of filling, which could be anything including butter and cheese, pork and green chile, black beans and cheese, scrambled eggs with diced sausage, mushrooms, ground beef, and much more.

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