The History of La Fiesta
In 1948 my father and mother, Jose & Juanita Hernandez, came to the United States to follow the American dream. Throughout those years the family grew with 12 brothers and sisters, who found themselves migrating from Ohio, Michigan, Dallas, and then their final destination, Atlanta, Ga.
Our family opened their very first Mexican restaurant named La Fiesta in Atlanta. My mother cooked food while my father and a few of my siblings washed dishes, waited on tables and worked on anything else needed to run the family business.
In 1983, my husband, Jesse Castro, and I began our tradition in Athens, Ga. with the help of my sister, Carmen Hernandez. We opened our own Mexican restaurant and for the next seven years we were blessed with the opportunity to learn from one of the best chefs, my mother and sister. They taught us the true techniques of cooking authentic Mexican dishes. Together we gained the knowledge of how to succeed throughout the obstacles of the restaurant industry.
In 1989, we came to Gainesville, Fla. to pursue our own American dream, to be our own bosses, and to teach our children that you must work hard and do your best in order to achieve your life goals. I remember, we were the first authentic Mexican restaurant to open in Gainesville at that time.
Along with being responsible for cooking the food, I washed dishes too. It was my opportunity to determine if the customers liked our food. I examined each plate, looking to see if it was empty or not. If a plate came back half full I wondered, “What happened here?” Then asked the server if something was wrong. The server would always smile and reply with, “They’re too full” or, “No more room!”
The first couple of weeks were very intimidating, we made $50 dollars our first day. My husband and I began to second-guess ourselves, wondering if we had made the right decision of bringing our family here. Thank God as time had passed we were blessed and the business had taken off.
Later on, we found out someone who came our opening week was so intrigued by our food that he or she called the Gainesville Sun and told them to write an article about us, stating that there was a new Mexican restaurant had finally arrived in town. A place that not only brought authentic delicious food to the table but also had great people serving it. We never found out who that person was to we thank them, but to this day we will forever be grateful.
Furthermore, we cannot express how grateful we are to have such loyal customers. We truly appreciate everyone’s support throughout these 32 years. Not only have we made a great name for ourselves in the city of Gainesville, we’ve made a home for our family.
So to all of our customers, thank you.