Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Rañola and Rachel Trammell.
Sarah and Rachel, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The initial inspiration for Hella Lumpia came from attending the Asian Night Market last July. It had been an aspiration of Chef Sarah’s to create her own business and brand, utilizing and expanding on the Filipino recipes of her childhood. Trying the food of Chef Denise of fellow pop-up Bilao and seeing the demand for more Filipino food in Dallas was just the impetus we needed. We were able to get our concept off the ground and book our first event at Peticolas Brewery in August. We were amazed at the turnout and support. We were then able to book out for the rest of the year. Today we are working on scaling up Hella Lumpia to a commercial kitchen and transitioning our business model to delivery. Current times have definitely presented a new challenge, as we aren’t able to do pop-ups right now, but we have enjoyed taking this next step with our business. Together with Chef Denise, we will be collaborating to bring fresh Filipino food to the masses in DFW.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting a successful pop-up from scratch has definitely not been an easy road. We lived and breathed the business for the first six months. When we ventured into the Dallas pop-up world, we had no idea the amount of demand we would be met with. Our team quickly expanded from just the two of us to a team of six people working our events. There was definitely a learning curve for organizing our operation and crafting customer experience due to such a high volume of orders. We were also inundated with catering orders for trays of lumpia, which can currently be ordered at any time for pick-up. Overall, our experience has been incredibly rewarding. We have had a lot of trial and error, but with each iteration we are learning more. We realized early on that we were, in fact, running a small restaurant. The team management, the setup onsite, and the mass quantities of food to prepare were all a crash course in operation. Then, of course, the city shut-down presented a new set of challenges and pushed us to create a new (and even better) concept. Overall, our foray into the pop-up world could not have gone better. We continue to be humbled to be a part of this close-knit community and to share our food with the people of Dallas.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Hella Lumpia – what should we know?
We are proud to be an all female-run restaurant. The food we create is a combination of what Chef Sarah grew up on and her formal culinary training. What sets us apart is that we bring the party food. Our version of an egg roll, and where we derive our name from, is lumpia. It is a fixture at Filipino parties and events. We also almost always serve a noodle dish called pancit. And our signature dessert is a sweet purple yam (ube) flavored rice krispie. As Chef always says though–“This is not just a tray of lumpia”. Filipinos are known to be hospitable, and we invite people of all different backgrounds to share in the experience. Some of the most rewarding things to hear are always: “This feels like my Tita’s food” or “I feel at home”.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
We strive to be growth-oriented but to stay authentic. By branching out on our own, we took a risk, but we were met with high demand for Filipino food in Dallas and a little bit of luck along with our hard work. We were instantly welcomed into the pop-up community, and we were introduced to D Magazine dining critic Eve Hill-Agnus very early on. We continue to be so grateful to have been included in the D Magazine spread “Our Island Time” about the Filipino food movement in Dallas. The most important element to our success is definitely passion for sharing our food and connecting with people. This, along with a lot of elbow grease rolling that lumpia, has been the recipe for a successful endeavor. We can’t wait to show everyone what’s next.
- Website: hellalumpia.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/hellalumpiatx
- Facebook: facebook.con/hellalumpiatx
Elizabeth Lavin (portrait of Sarah and Rachel in aprons)