Metro eatery’s Venezuelan dishes, family atmosphere make Salvador Perez feel right at home

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s nothing better than good home cooking. The same holds true for a star Royals player who has made a second family here in Kansas City, thanks to great Venezuelan food. A bond was built over a menu and it has grown into so much for the restaurant and the All-Star.

He’s a stud on the sandlot but much more off the field as well. Andrea Hall has gotten to know All-Star catcher Salvador Perez through his visits to her restaurant, Empanada Madness.

“We got to really know who Salvy was and the characteristics of what makes him Salvy. He’s very funny, caring. I love that,” Hall said.

The red-hot Royal made his first trip to Empanada Madness long before the Royals started cranking out consistent wins.

“Before the World Series and everything, (he) came in, back in 2013, that’s when he start coming into the restaurant,” Hall recalled.

The comfy eatery, nestled in a row of storefronts off Southwest Boulevard, lets Salvy enjoy some of his favorites from back home in Venezuela. Hall said one of Salvy’s favorites is a shredded beef empanada, but they like to add variety for him.

“He likes everything. We try to change it up for him,” Hall said.

One that that hasn’t changed is the bond Hall and Perez have built. The two share cultural ties.

“We like the same [things] and it’s funny, because I was raised here and he was raised in Venezuela, but I mean, it’s like the same,” she explained.

Hall said Salvy considers her mom to be his second mom and often asks for her prayers and blessings.

“Here in Kansas City he comes into the restaurant, treats us like family, comes in, hugs my mom,” she said.

It’s why taking Hall to this year’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati was both an honor, and a little expected.

“I said, ‘You know you’re going to go right?’ And then we just started talking and he said, ‘Do you want to go too?’ I said, ‘Yeah!'” Hall exclaimed.

VIP status for one of Perez’s closest friends; more like family. “Knowing Salvy and how caring he is, it was unbelievable but truth at the same time.”

Empanada Madness opened in 2013. Hall said the only time Perez doesn’t come into the restaurant is when is mother is in town.

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