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Kicha Foods expands on chorizo family tradition

Sergio Munoz

In a calm, humble storage unit at Montecillo lives one of El Paso’s newest and most unique food creations. 

The Villanueva brothers, Sergio, who is a UTEP alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, and Jaime, a senior pre-nursing major, opened their doors to the community for their new eatery, Kicha Foods. Since its grand opening in early May,  Kicha  has attracted a lot of  local buzz.

What makes Kicha Foods so exceptional is their menu, which is flooded by chorizo. This isn’t your regular egg-and-chorizo burrito type of chorizo. The Villanueva brothers process chorizo with different spices and meticulously work to perfect each batch.

“We get the meats from the store and we take it back to our table and clean it out. We take out all the gristle and fat—just the bad stuff we don’t want there,” Sergio said.

He closes the store every Monday and Tuesday to make chorizo with Jaime for the week.

“We trim it and clean it out really good and then we pass it through the grinder. Once it’s ground, we blend our spices together and we pass them into the mixer with the meats,” he said. “We still do small batches because it’s all manual.”

The Villanuevas have had this passion for cooking their entire lives and it comes from their family. While Sergio and Jaime were still in high school, their father showed them how to make chorizo with an industrial meat grinder.

“We always had an affinity for cooking and we have been very passionate with food,” Sergio said. “That’s all we talk about at the dinner table. We’re eating and we think, ‘oh, what would you do to make this better.’”

After their dad showed them the works of chorizo, the duo started actively making it and hopping around to different farmers markets to try and sell their product.

However, it was the Montecillo farmers market that truly propelled Kicha Foods into what it is now.

“People loved it, people loved it since the first day,” Jaime said. “We were nervous that we wouldn’t sell anything our first time. But no, people loved it. We did samples and people said, ‘this is so good.’”

From then Kicha Foods was a must for the farmers market at Montecillo. The brothers said they even had a reserved section, where they would set up shop each week, with the organizer calling them up to make sure they were coming. 

As the name Kicha Foods spread, so did the demand for their food. They started to grow their business and had regulars coming each time a farmers market arose.

The demand pushed Jaime and Sergio to decide they should rent out a space in Montecillo and expand their business. It was an unexpected location, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

The brothers had never been to Montecillo prior to the farmers market and after a while of selling chorizo there, they decided it would be the home of Kicha Foods.

“We were looking for different spots and different locations and we actually found one other spot on the far east. For some reason, things weren’t right at that location,” Jaime said. “We came over here and found this vacant spot and we were like, ‘this has potential.’ We signed the lease the following week.”

The two did all the construction, such as installing sinks, a drop ceiling and more building installations. Then at the beginning of May, Kicha Foods opened up for business officially.

It was a dream come true for the Villanuevas, and they both owe their parents for inspiring it. In fact, the name Kicha Foods is actually a combination of their parent’s names—their mother, Francisca, or “Kika,” and their father, Ismael, or “Chamel.”

“Since the very first day, they’ve always pushed us and encouraged us. When we would go around to markets and wouldn’t sell anything, we were down, but they always said not to worry and to keep going,” Sergio said. “They were the ones who inspired us. They showed us how to make chorizo and we still use the grinder from back in the day.”

Kicha Foods has also started to make impressive professional relationships with different businesses around town. Jaime, who used to work at Pizza Joint, collaborated with the local company to introduce the Kicharizzo, a pizza with their chorizo as a topping.

Tin Man, a bar located in Montecillo, has also reached out to the brothers and asked them to act as the bar’s kitchen.

“Future plans would include us opening up a small processing plant, where we would process and distribute our chorizo into wholesale stores, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s,” Sergio said. “Also, introducing cured sausages and cured chorizo. Messing around with bacteria and what not.”

The menu at Kicha Foods includes chorizo tacos, sandwiches and other items. The different chorizos they have include green chile, red chile, chipotle and soy chorizo, which is entirely vegetarian.

Kicha Foods is located at 4935 N Mesa St. They are open Wednesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight and on Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Kicha Foods expands on chorizo family tradition