NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)- Chef Wilfredo Avelar says it best, “The tortillas that we serve are fresh. They’re warm. The aroma that you get when you walk in the door, and we package a fresh pack of tortillas here at our retail store is no comparison to it.”
Freshness is the quality they strive for most at Mawi Tortillas. Avelar worked as a chef with Emeril Lagasse for almost 15 years and then decided to join his father and brothers in a business venture to make fresh tortillas for restaurants and for retail.
Tortillas are produced daily at their facility in Kenner. In fact, this batch of blue tortillas is for a restaurant on the north shore. From there, the fresh goodness is shipped to clients around town, but that’s just a part of the Mawi story. The family also operates a retail outlet in Metairie that sells their wares but also takes of advantage of Avelar’s talents in the kitchen by offering other products and dishes.
According to Avelar, “We do have cheeses that we import from Central America. Those cheeses are eaten with our cheeses like bread and butter. You can take the dough that we use on tortillas and make tamales with, but also other things like pupusas which is a very Salvadoran dish that I grew up eating and we serve here now.”
The Avelars also hang their hats on being among the first in the area to sell the now popular birria tacos after the chef made a trip to Mexico.
Carlos Avelar says, “When he came back, he said ‘Dad I want us to try this taco I tasted in Mexico, it tastes delicious, I learned the procedure and I said Wil, let’s do it and it became very popular here in Louisiana so I can think that my son and our store were the ones who introduced the birria taco to New Orleans.”
It’s one of their top sellers at the retail store. Mawi is a family affair and the senior Avelar relishes the opportunity to work with his sons every day but he also pointed out another benefit to working with family.
“I think there is one advantage, and that is if you don’t have the money to pay them, they don’t have to get any money, laughed the senior Avelar.