Maria Vazquez – Maria’s Mexican Restaurant
BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY
In 2001, Maria Vazquez moved from Mexico to Utah with her husband. It had always been their dream to start a restaurant because they had worked in the food industry since moving to the U.S.
Before achieving their dream, Maria and her husband ran a very successful moving company. The revenue from that company helped them finally open the doors to Maria’s Mexican Restaurant.
An authentic Mexican restaurant was highly anticipated. As a Mexican herself, she did not like the food in nontraditional Mexican restaurants, nor did her family. Now they have customers who are Mexican and love the food because it’s made traditionally and authentically: by using their stone bowl molcajete, carne asada, adding mole poblano to their chile verde, every detail is genuine and made from scratch.
Maria did not speak English when she first moved to Utah, and she hardly left the comfort of her house. Suddenly, with the opening of her namesake restaurant, she was out in public view all day every day. Now, after years of practice, she speaks English well enough to describe the preparation of every dish in detail.
In the beginning, Maria was hosting, serving, cashiering, and bussing tables. Her husband was in the kitchen cooking every dish, and even her son, who is now 18-years-old and attending Utah State University, was helping clean up. The restaurant was home, not just for her family, but for her customers too. Many people would come for the food and stay for the conversation. Maria has made many friends out of customers, people who come weekly just to support her business. These friends helped her adjust to life in Utah. It was because of the great relationships Maria had with her customers that she was able to trust their recommendations and find a decent daycare for her daughter.
“We’re blessed that our restaurant is growing every day,” she said. “We have a lot of support from the community in Ogden.”
Maria’s Mexican Restaurant also accommodates special requests. When someone requests a salsa without cilantro, they can make that happen because even the salsa is made fresh every day. They start every morning making homemade flour tortillas, fresh chips, rice, and beans.
The business has gone so well that Maria hired more help so she can stay home more often. She feels very lucky to have reached this status. On Cinco de Mayo, she celebrated with her customers turned friends on the patio of her restaurant.