BELLEVUE, Idaho — Michael Mandez is passionate about food. He owned a seafood restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico before moving to the U.S. in 2018 and opening the Wood River Tortilla Factory in 2019.
Mandez faced challenges like all did during the pandemic but now his tortillas are shipped to four different cities, many local restaurants in Bellevue. He and his wife produce of 2,500 or more corn and flour tortillas everyday.
Mandez and his family moved to the U.S. to escape the violence that endangered he and his family living in Mexico.
“Tijuana is kind of a dangerous city and I am just looking for a mellow place to raise my son and that’s the reason why we thought about just leaving everything in Tijuana and just try to do something here in the United States,” he said.
Mandez left his house, family, friends, and restaurant behind so that he, his wife, and his two sons could live a safer life. His oldest son now serves in the military and his 10 year old can now safely grow up here Idaho.
“My son grows safely, and I feel safe you know. He can take the bus after school he can walk around town,” said Mandez.
With a new found security and safety living in the U.S., Mandez can now focus on his passion for food and bring a fresh, local, and quality product to the gem state.
“Everybody comes and tells me about the tortillas. Everybody loves the tortillas because we are local because we use local supplies and because, I don’t know the people love the fresh tortillas," he said.
The Wood River Tortilla Factory makes close to 80 pounds of corn tortillas and 120 pounds of flour tortillas every day, sometimes even going beyond to compensate for special requests.
Though Mandez is passionate about food he says his desire to make fresh and local tortillas comes from the support his community shows,
“I just want to work hard and just offer a good quality product for the community and that is how I say thank you because I don’t know, this place opened the door for me from the beginning and I really feel happy.”
If you would like to order some tortillas, click here.