From dishwasher to restaurateur, Jorge Cueva’s success is no accident. With dozens restaurants, a catering company and a handful of food trucks on his resume that totals over 28 years in the industry, you’d think he’d be slowing down soon, but he’s just getting started.
But still, he’s not done yet. This year, Cueva opened his newest extension in Los Angeles, which is already a hit in Downey’s food scene. “The concepts are really unique,” Cueva says about his franchise. “From the food and drinks to the service and ambience—they all make a great compliment to each other.” Because of his successes, he will be spreading the love nationally and internationally. New restaurants are expected to open in New York, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Miami, and in Universal Studios Hollywood. Plus, the mastermind plans to expand across the border to open a location in the booming Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada, Mexico and Tokyo, Japan.
He tastefully combines seven foodie categories into one menu making it so whatever you’re craving is available. Asian fusion and French and Italian influences fill the menu with a Mexican sushi concept on the way. “I go against the rules,” Cueva states. His vision with his concept is to be the Hard Rock Cafes of Mexican food. “I’m just crazy.” He attributes his creativity to his “mucho loco” attitude. Through his travels around the world and attempting to try 10 new restaurants a week, he gets inspired by his taste buds.
When you’re living out your passion, Cueva expresses that it’s just different. “Everyone says, ‘Why do you work so much?’ but I don’t feel like I’m working,” he says about sipping a glass of wine while conversing with his customers. He’s a people person. “I don’t have friends; my friends are my customers.” Each time he opens a restaurant, Cueva says he immerses himself in that community, truly getting to know the locals that come through the door. From playing golf with them to naming cocktails after his regulars, it’s all about the customers to him.
But, what is the most important ingredient? “Work ethic,” he says. “Never give up, never take ‘no’ for an answer and have passion and drive.” This hard-working mentality comes from his father; it’s in his genes. Cueva says his dad, Enrique, was an entrepreneurial hustler, a real workhorse. Seeing that example and working alongside him starting as young as 8 years old prepared him and continues to inspired him today.
No matter what location you are dining in Southern California or south of the border, you bet you will receive out-of-this-world service and fresh, flavorful cuisine. “I just wanted to be different—authentic Mexican food with a twist.”