Unlike most Americans, who experienced last night's State of the Union address on their televisions or simply missed it altogether, one Dallas restaurateur listened to the speech up close and personal. Yesterday, Gloria’s Latin Cuisine founder Gloria Fuentes headed to Washington, D.C. to join President Obama for his final State of the Union address.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the successful restaurateur attended the address as the guest of Fort Worth Congressman Marc Veasey. Veasey told the Morning News that Fuentes “embodies why small business owners should be supported by legislation that would make it easier to obtain loans.”
In a Facebook post, Veasey expanded on his praise of Fuentes’ entrepreneurial spirit. “Many know her restaurant for its Latin food and renowned margaritas, but few know the hard work she’s put in to transform her passion for cooking into an expanding restaurant business,” Veasey wrote. “With help from the Small Business Administration and a relentless dedication to her craft, Gloria now owns 15 restaurants across Texas. Immigrant women remain a crucial part of our workforce and Gloria exemplifies that the American Dream remains alive.”
Gloria’s Latin Cuisine first opened its doors in Dallas in 1986, after Fuentes and her husband Jose moved to Texas from El Salvador. The original Oak Cliff location has since expanded to 15 restaurants across Texas that employ more than 600 people, including outposts in Austin and Houston.
An immigrant herself, Fuentes was granted amnesty in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. That same year, she founded Gloria's Latin Cuisine and the rest, as they say, is history.