Childhood memories of eating churros and watching them made in Santiago, Chile, motivated Jared Naumann to bring the dessert concept to Arizona.
In 2016, Jared and his wife Annie visited Spain and tried the churros.
“When we tried them over there, one of the things I really liked was not only the churro itself but the hot chocolate,” said Naumann, owner of Dulce Churro Cafe in Gilbert and Chandler.
“I’m not a big fan of hot chocolate but when I tried the hot chocolate in Spain, I was surprised and shocked at how good it was. It’s a dark chocolate you dip churros in,” adding that in Spain, people eat churros for breakfast.
There is one big misconception surrounding the tasty treat, he said.
“While a lot of people think churros come from Mexico, they don’t,” Naumann said. “They come from Spain. That’s where they originated. They came to Mexico in 1930. Spaniards went to Mexico and started to make churros there.”
He said each country throughout South America has its own small variation on how to make churros but they’re typically eaten plain or filled with dulce de leche. Mexico introduced the concept of cinnamon sugar.
In Spain, the shape of churros also is different.
“It’s a little loop,” explained Naumann. “A small loop. Second, the dough is simply made with flour, salt and water. You can add a little bit of sugar if you want to. It’s a very simple mix.
“Over there they fry churros in sunflower seed oil or olive oil that gives it a little bit different taste. After I tried it, I wanted to look into it more.”
The Naumanns learned about a churro school in Spain and six months after his first visit, Jared went back and took the class – learning about the history, preparation and business of churros.
He then bought churro equipment.
“By far, Spaniards make the best quality, longer-lasting equipment for churros,” Naumann said. “I decided to buy all the equipment. I brought it all back.”
Next, it was time to design the restaurant around this concept — not only the way churros are made in Spain but also in Chile and Mexico because Naumann wants customers to have a choice.
His shops make one dough but offer several shapes that include el grande, loop, Spaniard, bites and donut shapes.
“People can have the churro from all different parts of the world,” he said.
“One of the main things I wanted to do is let people have the experience. You can watch them fry the churros if you go to Mexico or Spain.”
Naumann designed his shops where churros are made to order but also where customers can watch how they’re made.
“The equipment is fun to watch,” said Naumann. “We created a corner with glass…where people can come up, order their churro and then walk over and see the churro being made from scratch.”
He said the whole restaurant is designed around the fryer because it’s different than what you see in other kitchens.
Customers have a choice of glazes, toppings, fillings and ice cream.
“We fill them right in front of you,” said Naumann. Fillings include dulce de leche, Nutella, Bavarian cream, peanut butter, strawberry and lemon.
All churros come with cinnamon sugar but Naumann said many people order them plain.
“From that point, you can create your own and add icing, glazes, drizzles like chocolate, caramel, strawberry and white chocolate,” explained Naumann. “You can also choose toppings such as Fruity Pebbles, Oreos, marshmallows, almonds and sprinkles. Sprinkles are the favorite among kids.”
Filled churros are the most popular with dulce de leche being the favorite filling followed by Nutella or Bavarian cream.
As far as the shapes go, the grande filled is the #1 choice among customers followed by bites. The Spaniard shape seems to be the more popular one for dipping into Spanish hot chocolate.
Naumann opened his first churro store in Gilbert on March 30, 2018, and opened his second store in Chandler two years ago.
“When we opened, we had a line out the door, around the building from 11 a.m.-midnight every day, non-stop,” Naumann. “We served over 12,000 orders in the first 1 1/2 months. We hired 13 employees in the first month.”
Eventually, the business got into catering and serves hundreds of guests each weekend at wedding receptions.
The Mesa resident would like to start franchising but is also looking to open another store in the West Valley and possibly in San Tan Valley and Queen Creek.
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