¡Venga! Empanadas was founded by Manuel Godino, a refugee from the restaurant business who came to San Francisco by way of Madrid and Buenos Aires. Born in Cádiz on the southern tip of Spain, Manuel (known to his friends as Manolo) started cooking when he was 17, when he realized he could cook as well as his mother. In his 20-plus-year career as a chef, he has cooked in all kinds of places, from 90-man petroleum tankers to Italian restaurants to fancy French bistros. In Buenos Aires, he had a popular pizza and empanada joint called Jalapeño as well as a catering business.
Manuel’s passion is feeding people. Although he enjoys preparing elaborate four-course meals for friends and family, San Francisco does not need another gourmet restaurant. What the Bay Area lacks, however, is a good empanada place. He decided San Franciscans should no longer go wanting. In October 2008, ¡Venga! was born. Please contact us if you have any questions. We welcome your feedback.
Pablo Romano is an Argentine native. After graduating from the University of Buenos Aires, he moved to Mar Chiquita, a resort town, where he launched a successful restaurant specializing in grilled meats. He owned and operated the business for over a decade, selling the business prior to moving to San Francisco.
Besides Pablo’s passion for food, he is also an accomplished artist. Pablo attended the San Francisco Academy of Art University and specialized in Computer Graphics and Animation. After graduating, Pablo spent five years working for William Sonoma/Pottery Barn building the sets for photo shoots for the mail catalogue.