Hispanic Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Summary of Interview
Maria Antonietta Orrantia was born in El Paso, Texas on August 1957. She was the youngest of her three other male siblings. Her mother was from Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico and her father from Juarez, Mexico were they met. She grew up and studied her high school in Juarez. Later she earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), got married and went to Guanajuato, Mexico and almost accomplished an MBA. After that she returned to UTEP and took non-degree courses in marketing. Orrantia recalls that her paternal grandmother started a small restaurant in downtown Juarez and remembers that her parents owned a grocery store, and eventually took over the family restaurant. She describes how the restaurant at the beginning had a simple menu of tacos, flautas, and chicken soup and mentions that every year her parents traveled to several parts of Mexico to bring recipes to their business, which eventually led to a bigger menu. Orrantia recounts how the business changed its locations in Juarez and how it became a traditional place to dine in the Juarez/El Paso area. Growing up in the restaurant she learned how to run the family business and dreamed of having one some day. She details that the restaurant moved to El Paso in 1978 and that in 1985 her parents invited her to become the administrator. Orrantia explains how she learned to run the restaurant successfully on a daily basis with the help of other people, specially a bookkeeper that had broad experience on the paperwork on establishing a business in the U.S. She discusses that the restaurant’s current location on Yarbrough in El Paso is on a lot that her family purchased in 1980- 1981 and recalls that they have never had to apply for a loan in the U.S. thanks to the capital the family business had from its restaurant in Juarez. She describes that her son and daughter became involved in the restaurant after her husband’s death, and they have future plans on expanding on other parts of the city and establishing franchises in other U.S. cities on the capacity of the restaurant’s current location and the growth on the number of employees; on how she regret’s spending more time on the restaurant and not with her family; on keeping the traditional Mexican menu and the original Mexican recipes and the use of fresh ingredients and no preservatives on its food; and talks about the low profile commercialization of their salsas. To conclude she states what is her greatest satisfaction in her restaurant and gives some advice to people who want to pursue this business.
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Interview with Maria Antonietta Orrantia by Francis Reyes, 2009, "Interview no. 1516," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.