Inside Atlanta: El Super Pan Chef-Owner Hector Santiago

El Super Pan's Hector Santiago shares his favorite spots in Atlanta

Inside Atlanta: Hector Santiago

We're back with our series Inside Atlanta—each week, we sit down with influential locals to talk about what Atlanta means to them. Today we’re chatting with Chef Hector Santiago, owner of El Super Pan Latino Sandwiches & Bar. You may recognize Santiago as the chef behind the now-closed, but never forgotten Pura Vida Restaurant—the Poncey-Highlands hotspot had a cult-like following. Fortunately, Santiago is back with a new popular sandwich concept, El Super Pan, a permanent stall at Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall.

Today we get a tour of The Big Peach lead by Santiago himself.

I live in… “East Atlanta—I like the relaxed feel of it. You can visit the farmer's market, restaurants and bars without feeling like you need to dress up. I also love its accessibility, not to mention a lot of my friends live nearby.”

You Can Find Me… “At my house or at the restaurant. Trust me, I like to party, but I love to sit on my porch or work in my yard.”

It’s Dinner Time, I’m headed to… “Venkman’s—I loved Chef Nick Melvin's awesome cuisine. The soft shell crab from Chef Robert Phalen at One Eared Stag is amazing. I always enjoy Sotto Sotto and the fun concept of Gunshow, backed by great cuisine. I love Anne Quatrano's restaurants, and Better Half, which showcases Latin ingredients and Chef Zach Meloy's talents. We have a great collection of chef/owners (not an easy title to have, trust me) in Atlanta. When I eat out, I like to support our local chefs and restaurateurs.”

Clock strikes 5 o’clock, I’m drinking… “IPA's—especially SweetWater’s. I like their grapefruit and passionfruit notes. Malta (malt soda) is my energy drink of choice. When I want something stronger, I go for Ron del Barrilito rum or Pisco Aparcana.”

If I Had to Stay in a Hotel, I’d check into… “My house! That’s where my friends and family stay when they come in town.”

Atlanta’s Best Kept Secret Is… “Sweetwater Creek State Park. I hike there with my nephew and my dogs, drop my SUP in the lake for a few laps, fish and picnic. Now, they have yurts for rent. All of this just 20 minutes away from my home in Atlanta. I also enjoy Arabia Mountain and the South River Trail by Panola Mountain. When I came to Atlanta 20 years ago, the parks and nature are what inspired me to fall in love with the city.”

When I’m Playing Tourist, I go to… “The markets on Buford Highway, the Georgia Aquarium, Fernbank Museum and the parks around Atlanta when friends and family visit.”

I Get My Sweat On… “At Sweetwater lake with my stand up paddle board. When I feel like I need to put in a workout, I prefer to hike or take my bike for a spin. I get bored at a gym.”

I Love Spending My Money At... “Home improvements stores.  I'm a cheapskate when it comes to myself, but I do have a guilty pleasure—nice linen Guayabera shirts are always worth my dollars!”

Story by Muriel Vega