Restaurateur attribures success to community, USU student support
Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 00:12
Many students enjoy authentic Mexican food, but it can be hard to find places in Logan that sell authentic products, especially close to campus. But hidden away in the Tesoro gas station at 1400 N. 790 East, Mario Villapudua has brought a Mexican restaurant to the USU community.
It has been open for about a year, but the establishment has not taken on much recognition from the college crowd, said Villapudua, the entrepreneur behind the restaurant. While the menu only has five different items — including tacos, enchiladas and burritos — the choices offer substantial variety accentuated by several different types of meat options, he said.
Villapudua said not only are typical items like tacos and burritos — the number one flavor is sweet pork — but he delivers a signature dish called the "Aggie Roll."
The idea to open a restaurant came to Villapudua some time ago.
"It was back in ’89,” Villapudua said. “We were milking cows at the time, and I said I would never go back to milking cows. I was a kid. I was 12, 13 years old. At 14, I was offered a job as a busboy."
From there, he said, he had his connections in the restaurateur business. Through working with the former owner of Hamilton’s Steak & Seafood, Dave Bessinger, Villapudua said he was able to put the business into motion.
"At the time, we were working with Mr. Bessinger over at the old Hamilton's, and he had this little place here and he asked me if I wanted to help him run this location," Villapudua said of the business’ start. "And that's what we're doing now. We're working together with Mr. Bessinger."
The restaurant has gotten most of its business by word of mouth and has never done any other type of advertising. Still, the restaurant is getting more than 200 customers per day, Villapudua said.
"It goes to tell you that when you put out a good product with a good attitude, it will come back to you," Villapudua said.
The location was a big factor about what Villapudua would have on his menu and how much the items would cost, he said.
"When we first made the menu here, we thought of the students,” he said. “That was the first thing in mind, was making it affordable for the university, and that was our target, to target the kids."
Though his intended patrons were the students from the university, Villapudua said he’s been surprised to find they aren’t the main source of business.