It all started at Acapulco Joe’s, an iconic Mexican restaurant in the heart of downtown Indy. Jose Guadalupe Robles Rangel, AKA “Acapulco Joe”, was born in 1922 in Acapulco, Mexico. He made his way to Indianapolis in the early 1950’s and opened Joe’s Fine Food at 342 N. Illinois Street in 1961.
In the summer of 1970, Jose began serving his native Mexican food on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Joe’s Fine Food, drawing long lines outside of his 54-seat dining room. Shortly after, he changed the name to Acapulco Joe’s and updated the entire menu to feature a complete Mexican cuisine, including what would eventually be known as Sassy Sauce. By the 1980s, his beloved Mexican restaurant was an Indianapolis institution!
In April of 1983, Acapulco Joe’s moved across the street to 365 N. Illinois. Around this same time, Jose was creeping up on retirement and offered to sell the restaurant to his cheese and tomato supplier, Eugene Chang. At the closing meeting for the sale, Jose broke down and told Eugene he simply could not give up his life’s work. However, Joe invited Eugene to open a second Acapulco Joe’s at 71st and Binford. In 1988 at the age of 66, Jose “Joe” Guadalupe Robles Rangel passed away and the surviving family resigned the naming rights of “Acapulco Joe’s”. Eugene renamed the 71st and Binford location to La Chica’s Mexican Restaurant. The downtown Acapulco Joe’s remained open under a series of different owners before closing for good in 2019.
Eugene sold La Chica’s to Indianapolis native Brian Farmer in 1996, who quickly realized how delicious the house sauce tasted. It became known as Sassy Sauce from its perfectly sweet flavor and slight kick. Brian sold La Chica’s in 2000 to a small chain who changed the name and entire menu.
But Sassy lives on! After La Chica’s, Brian continued making Sassy Sauce for family events, Christmas gifts, and Christ the King Parish festivals. In the Spring of 2020, the Farmer family decided to officially launch Farmer’s Sauce, LLC. We are thrilled to share Sassy Sauce with the great people of Indianapolis and the rest of the whole wide world!