Gloria and Jose Fuentes were seventeen years old when they arrived to the United States in 1978. Like many other young Salvadorians, they were filled with hope – longing for a better life than what they were experiencing in a cruel and intense civil war, and civil chaos which lasted many years (decades) in El Salvador. Without knowing each other, Gloria and Jose settled in Houston, Texas and faced the precarious existence and survival difficulties of undocumented immigrants for some time.
Fatefully, love created a miracle when they met and moved to Dallas to work with Gloria’s sister at a Salvadorian restaurant, which her sister owned in Oak Cliff. A year later passed, and Gloria’s sister gave up on the restaurant and Gloria and Jose chose to take over. Despite all the obstacles, and showing amazing resilience and a persistent work ethic, their life was beginning to change for the best. Playing an entrepreneurial role – with no previous knowledge – they registered the assumed Gloria’s name before the Dallas County Clerk on April 15, 1986. A few months later they became legal U.S. residents under the amnesty provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
Under Jose and Gloria’s management, the little Salvadorian restaurant became distinguished for their tasty food. It was so full of flavor that an undercover critic of the Dallas Morning News gave them a very positive review. The next day there was a considerable line of Anglo clients waiting under the summer sun of Dallas, for an opportunity to indulge in the new and delicious dishes. Even William “Bill” Clements, Jr., the Governor of Texas at the time, was one of those curious customers.
Gloria’s growth has been a constant since then. Financial organization opened their doors to Gloria’s for the first SBA loan in 1999 and continues to show support to the fourteen restaurants they own today. Coincidentally, this coming April, Gloria’s will move their first small restaurant in Oak Cliff to the historic Fire Station building in the neighborhood, in celebration of their 25th Anniversary of triumphs. As well as, celebrating Gloria’s unique attention to innovate and delight their customers taste and senses.
Texas’ very own smooth jazz band The Brew is performing in this venue.
Gloria’s Restaurant, 3309 Esperanza Xing, Austin, Texas 78758