Dining, Shopping

Meet the 2021 Calling All Dreamers Winner: Gusto Gaucho

Gabby Fredericks

Drum roll, please…

Gusto Gaucho is the winner of the 2021 Calling All Dreamers annual business concept competition! Customers of Gusto Gaucho will enjoy Argentine flavor in each bite — from the rich, layered crust of their pastries to the tangy chimichurri sauce that accompanies their empanadas. Gusto Gaucho offers pastries unlike any others in the Sacramento area, which include flavors such as dulce de leche, quince paste, guava, and ricotta cheese. Their savory beef, chicken, and cheese empanadas have been popular at local farmers’ markets and special events. Gusto Gaucho aims to become a staple #DowntownSac café.

The owner of Gusto Gaucho, Federico Garcia, shared his excitement with us saying that opening a cafe in #DowntownSac was a dream come true for him and a confirmation of all the hard work he had put in over the years. Federico started operating Gusto Gaucho at various farmers’ markets back in 2019, and he said that it was his customers that encouraged him to keep going!

As winner, Federico and Gusto Gaucho will receive a coveted Calling All Dreamers prize package that includes $20,000 cash and in-kind services and resources valued at $120,000 to help launch his dream into a reality with a #DowntownSac storefront. The Shark Tank-style competition takes qualified applicants through a business development program that calls for extensive business planning, market research, proof of financial sustainability, and more. More than just a retail competition, Calling All Dreamers has driven economic growth in downtown for seven years, helping to open 29 businesses, create more than 100 jobs, and lease more than 26,000 sq. ft.

Federico still hasn’t found the perfect spot, so keep a lookout for the announcement of Gusto Gaucho’s downtown location! If you can’t wait to try these Argentine goodies, you can place an order online through Gusto Gaucho’s website.

What is Calling All Dreamers?

The first year is usually the most difficult for small businesses with many startups struggling with capital, overhead expenses, permitting processes, and the details of actually managing a business. To make it easier, in 2013 the Downtown Sacramento Foundation launched the Calling All Dreamers competition to support an entrepreneur to bring their dream of opening a #DowntownSac storefront a reality. Winners of the annual competition – including Nash & Proper, NEO Escape Rooms, and The Allpsicery – have quickly become signature small businesses downtown, inspiring new classes of dreamers to pursue their big idea year after year.

Be sure to tag Gusto Gaucho in your photos at @GustoGaucho and don’t forget to tag us in your photos at @downtownsac and use the hashtag #DowntownSac for the chance to be featured on our social channels.