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My restaurant story begins in 1978, when I left Managua for Houston at the urging of a friend. I arrived to find out that the job he promised me did not exist. I found myself in a strange place with no job and no home.
After a year working in construction, I saved enough money to bring my fiancé over from Nicaragua. We married in 1979. And it was that year that I took a leap of faith in the hopes of a better life, and entered the restaurant industry.
At each position, I took care to work hard and learn about what it takes to operate a successful restaurant. That’s unique about restaurants – if you’re passionate and curious, doors will open. The goal of one day owning my own place never left my mind.
This dream became a reality in 1996, when I opened Rudy & Paco Restaurant, serving seafood and steak with a Central American twist. I am proud to say my restaurant is considered an institution on this island.
As a restaurant owner, I am able to help my local economy and community. We regularly donate food to local charities. I have also proudly been involved with the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the Galveston County Restaurant Association and many other community organizations for decades. I remember not having a penny to my name and so it is very important for me to give back.
Most people would say that the American Dream is achieved when someone goes from having nothing to being wealthy and successful. As we celebrate the contributions of the Hispanic community to America during Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s also take time to acknowledge that the American Dream is much more than this.