Chit Chat with Barbara from La Palapa on International Day of Women

Barbara Sibley, Founder of La Palapa

Barbara Sibley, Founder of La Palapa


We caught up with Barbara Sibley, the founder of East Village must-try, La Palapa. Not only should every day be Taco Tuesday but also, International Women's Day! So today, we honor both this leading lady, and her delectable Mexican cuisine!

US: Hi Barbara! We can certainly speak on behalf of the neighborhood of Urbanspace Vanderbilt by saying we love La Palapa! What inspired you to open your doors and kitchen in NYC?

BS: I grew up in Mexico City so my cuisine is really driven by what I am homesick for! I love to share the flavors of Mexico with guests at La Palapa and Urbanspace Vanderbilt - these days New Yorkers are so adventurous I can share the deeper more complex flavors and guests welcome them.

US: What's your family favorite recipe that's trickled down into your kitchen?

BS: One of my favorites is my Mother's Lamb Barbacoa - it is Mexican Barbecue which is closer to a slow pit braised meat. I wrap the lamb shanks in chile ancho and cook them until the meat falls off the bone. So delicious in a taco!

US: You have several restaurants in great locations. What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur in today's world? 

BS: I think to be an entrepreneur you have to love solving puzzles because every day is different. It is a broad skill set - you need strong financials, great people skills and every now and then you have to be a mechanic! In the end, I think it is determination and resilience that get you through the day and keep the challenge fun.

US: What should we have for dinner today?

BS: Oyster Mushroom tacos with queso chihuahua melted over it with a dollop of salsa de chile de arbol!

US: What's next for you and what great things can we look out for this year from La Palapa?

BS: I'm always looking at new spaces and am currently looking at a space on the Upper Ease Side. I'm having fun working on recipes for my next cookbook too! Of course every time Urbanspace opens a new location I can't wait! Urbanspace markets have a special energy so it is always fabulous to be included.

Now go visit, La Palapa at Urbanspace Vanderbilt and see what all the fuss is about! Our favorite? The Antojitos - Tostada Salad, hands down!