Sobre Masa’s New Sister Location in Bushwick Is a Destination for Handmade Tortillas

Zack and Diana Wangeman’s tortilleria is a Mexican jack of all trades.

Sobre Masa
Sobre Masa | Photo by Melissa Hom
Sobre Masa | Photo by Melissa Hom

Mexican chef Zack Wangeman uses food to spark conversation about his culture. After working at award-winning restaurants across the globe like Per Se and Celler de Can Roca and Etxebarri in Spain, the Oaxaca-born cook ventured into entrepreneurship earlier this year and opened Sobre Masa in Brooklyn, his first-ever permanent restaurant location.

The Williamsburg cafe and bar hybrid saw quick success, leading Zack and his wife, Diana—a med school graduate and the daughter of a prominent Oaxacan restaurateur—to recently open Sobre Masa Tortilleria, a more ambitious rendition of the initial concept that’s just begun welcoming guests in Bushwick.

Zack and Diana Wangeman
Zack and Diana Wangeman | Photo by Melissa Hom

The Wangemans’ initial vision for the Bushwick tortilleria was simple: They needed a factory, separate from the cafe in Williamsburg, where they could make their renowned corn tortillas and sell them wholesale. But as the couple hunted for a home base to operate the Sobre Masa tortilla brand from, they discovered a vacant retail space off the Morgan L stop that inspired them to rethink their business plan.

“We found a great location where we have our tortilla factory and retail shop in the front, as well as a taqueria in the back with a variety of tacos and cocktails focusing on Mexican spirits,” says Zack. Sobre Masa Tortilleria also sells Mexican groceries and goods, and will soon begin serving Oaxacan coffee and house-made Mexican pastries in the mornings.

Back Room of Sobre Masa
Back Room of Sobre Masa | Photo by Melissa Hom

The front room peers into a glass-enclosed kitchen, allowing visitors an up-close look at the factory that churns out thousands of tortillas daily. The back opens up to a skylit dining room with 60 seats and a horseshoe-shaped bar, framed by live plants, Oaxacan art, and—of course—corn.

Photo by Melissa Hom

The masa used in Sobre Masa’s handmade tortillas is crafted daily with a rotating selection of more than a dozen heirloom corn varieties from Mexico. The corn undergoes nixtamalization, a method of preparation that boosts nutrients, eliminates toxins, and makes it fit for use in dough. The final product is not only delicious, but healthy.

More: How to Prepare Your Own Masa at Home

To fully appreciate the love poured into each Sobre Masa tortilla, the Wangemans offer Tortilleria diners a small menu of tacos and specialty items that highlight the corn flavors, featuring proteins like pineapple vinegar–marinated al pastor, short rib bistec, and garlicky cauliflower. Each taco order comes with a flight of assorted salsas.

“When someone visits our tortilleria and enjoys our tacos,” Zack explains, “they are contributing to a community of producers and distributors to promote the culture and region of Mexico.”

Photo by Melissa Hom

The cocktail menu, designed by beverage director Gaston Graffigna (Bua, The Winslow), complements the spot’s general ethos of bringing the flavors of Mexico stateside. The La Pasa builds upon raisin-infused Uruapan rum with Granada Vallet bitters, Amontillado sherry, and sweet vermouth; the corn-forward In the Clouds delivers fermented corn tejuino mixed with Paranubes rum, Nixta corn liqueur, and dehydrated lime; and the Papazote acts as a mezcal martini, with epazote-infused vermouth, Cardamaro, yellow Chartreuse, olive bitters, and a rotating garnish.

Sobre Masa Tortilleria is open via walk-in Tuesday to Saturday from 5 pm-2 am at 52 Harrison Place in Brooklyn.

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Kyler Alvord is a contributor for Thrillist.