Jorge Levy, owner of Desperados, the Greenville Avenue Tex-Mex restaurant, has been awarded one of three 2012 Faces of Diversity American Dream awards from the National Restaurant Association. The April 27 ceremony in Washington, D.C., recognized restaurateurs who have achieved the "American Dream of entrepreneurship in the industry."
"The winners truly embody the entrepreneurial spirit that represents our industry," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the association. "The restaurant industry is one of the most diverse in the United States for providing opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds to realize their dreams of business ownership through hard work and dedication. We are proud to celebrate these restaurateurs' achievements."
A native of Mexico, Levy began working at age 7, following the death of his father. When he was 16, Levy and his family moved to America. Levy learned English and went to work in restaurants. After military service, Levy pursued his dream of opening his own restaurant. He named his place Desperados, he says, "because we were desperate for money." It is now in its 36th year of continual operation.
"Jorge Levy's determination to achieve his dream under challenging circumstances is truly remarkable," said Sweeney. "His journey demonstrates the extraordinary opportunities the restaurant industry provides for those who choose to make it part of their lives."
The other two award winners for 2012 are Leah Chase, owner of Dooky Chase Restaurant, New Orleans, and known as the "Queen of Creole Cuisine"; and Bahjat Shariff, Panera Bread/Howley Bread Group, Cumberland, Rhode Island.
Desperados. [Photo: Facebook]