There are certain restaurants in the Bay Area that, for a variety of reasons, are easy to miss — often old-school eateries without the buzz or viral TikTok and Instagram accounts to lure you in from afar.
But these modest establishments are just as capable of delivering culinary euphoria. In many cases, they also have decades’ worth of history waiting to be consumed. That’s exactly what the Mission’s Chile Lindo represents.
Ever since it opened in 1973, the small, independently-owned empanaderia has been a hideout for Chilean nationals. Many had come to California after being exiled from their native land under the harsh military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who rose to power after a United States-backed military coup. Like many diasporas carrying trauma, they’ve found refuge in places like Chile Lindo
Just one block east of the bustling 16th Street BART station, the shop blooms inside the Redstone Building, with a hand-painted advertisement for Chilean empanadas glossing the window. Since taking ownership in 1995, Paula Tejeda has seen her fair share of adversity, though. The restaurant’s original location is largely non-operational at the moment after a series of eviction notices, kitchen accidents and near closures throughout the pandemic. Yet somehow, Tejeda has found a way forward, as so many immigrants and children of immigrants do.
Last week, with the support of the Mission Housing Development Agency, she opened a sister location, Chile Lindo Kitchen Culture, directly across the street.
Read more on this community staple here: https://www.kqed.org/arts/13930138/chile-lindo-chilean-empanadas-mission-district-san-francisco-hella-hungry