La Palapa Cocina Mexicana
La Palapa Cocina Mexicana is an East Village-based restaurant owned by Pace SBDC client Barbara Sibley. The restaurant focuses on Mexico City tacos and authentic regional Mexican cuisine and has been a neighborhood favorite since opening in 2000. And since that time, Ms. Sibley has expanded her business with two additional locations in Midtown (Urbanspace Vanderbilt Market) and Hell’s Kitchen (Gotham West Market).
Ms. Sibley first came to the Pace SBDC with her idea in 2000 and worked with center Business Advisor Greg Callender to prepare a successful SBA loan package for her venture launch. The client has also worked with the Pace SBDC to both address business expansion challenges as well as secure financial support following September 11th, when Greg helped La Palapa secure funding from the World Trade Center Small Business Recovery Center Fund.
During 2020, as NYC was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, La Palapa has supported Coronavirus first responders by preparing and donating over 32,000 meals to front-line medical professionals in collaboration with World Central Kitchen, The Gotham Organization, and others. La Palapa continues to donate 450 meals a week to nursing homes, hospitals, shelters for teen youth, and soup kitchens.
By embracing a business model shift post-COVID-19 that features expanded delivery services and a vibrant outdoor dining scene, La Palapa has re-envisioned this successful 20-year old business. Further, with financing through the federal Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and supported by a range of operational and accounting guidance from Greg spanning their two decades-long working relationship, Ms. Sibley and La Palapa have retained 62 jobs while providing much-needed dining options for its dedicated customers.