Some of us learn to dream later in life.
Claudia Castillo was born in war torn El Salvador. As a kid, it is hard to have big dreams when your country is in turmoil and is unsafe to live. Claudia did receive an Associates in journalism and worked for her local radio station before chasing the American dream. She said there was no future there for her or for so many others. She tells me she loves writing stories about people, the challenges they face and the obstacles they can overcome. What a coincidence! Hers is that kind of story!
Claudia moved to Texas in 1993 and went to the university to learn to speak English. In 1994 she started working as a bus girl in a French restaurant and began practicing her English there. In 1995 she got a job at Marco’s on 1960. It was her second job in The States and at the same location she would wind up taking over as an owner 9 short years later.
She told me her incredible story of resilience and passion. She moved here without knowing the language and as she became familiar with it she loved talking to others. She loved engaging her customers and loved building relationships. She started at Marco’s Mexican restaurant as a hostess, writing the daily script on her hand of what to say to guests that entered the restaurant. As she became more confident, they moved her to bartender and then cashier. It was that position that she learned she was great at sales. As her confidence grew so did her title. She was promoted to assistant manager, then general manager. In 2000, she was promoted to marketing director for the entire company.
In 2003, The company she dedicated almost a decade of her life with filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed all their locations.
That’s when Claudia and her husband started dreaming big! They rented the location and spent several months changing the name and working on new recipes. They maxed their credit cards doing a complete remodel and renovation and brought on a new staff. Claudia finally opened her own restaurant with her own brand. She takes care of every guest and treats them like family. She has a commitment to quality and total guest satisfaction.
Her restaurant name became popular and a few years later, her husband and some partners took on the name and spread the brand. The food is top notch and the service is superb. However, Claudia’s store, the original, remains family run and is filed as a different corporation than the others. I have enjoyed supporting Claudia and her wonderful restaurant for many years now. I have also enjoyed her delicious margaritas and home-made Mexican food. I know when I support a small family business I am supporting someone’s dream and that makes me just as happy as the strong drinks!