Naper Wow Pow: Muchacha Salsa

Those close to Evelyn Rivera are probably not surprised the Naperville resident has reinvented herself — again. Her latest creation is a salsa that has taken the market by storm.

Muchacha Salsa, named after her girlfriends’ group, incorporates her Puerto Rican roots and Mediterranean flavors.

“It all started one day when I had chips and no salsa,” Rivera remembers. “I didn’t want to run to the store, so I threw a few things together, and there it was.”

Pretty impressed with her own concoction, Rivera ran to neighbor and friend Chris who immediately exclaimed: “You need to sell this.”

Of course, there were many skeptics, too, who warned her about the difficulties in breaching an already saturated salsa market.

But there was no stopping Rivera, whose career pursuits already include hairstylist, interior designer and cake designer.

After a little tweaking, the product was launched June.

“We started with a mild salsa, no heat. The medium uses habanero peppers with smokiness,” Rivera says.

The hot version, using one of the hottest peppers known, ghost peppers, was developed last, and even Rivera is surprised at how well it has done.

“We worked hard to get it right — I wanted to keep the flavor.”

The 16-ounce jar of salsa costs about $4.99 at Braconi’s Pizza in both Naperville locations and was recently added to the shelves at Naperville General Store. Angel Caputo’s Fresh Market is already selling the product at more than 20 locations, and Rivera is looking for a distributor to expand further, maybe even to Puerto Rico.

Rivera also has partnered with the Lynn Sage Foundation for breast cancer. For more information, contact publicist Mirna Lopez Freitag at and visit

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