Owner: Raul Aboytes
Santa Fe, NM
As a boy, Raul Aboytes helped his mother Lucia feed hungry customers in her late-night, one-room restaurant in Querétaro, México. Little did her realize he would carry Mama Lucia’s legacy to New Mexico.
Leaving home at age 18, Raul worked in a variety of jobs, moved to Santa Fe, married, began raising a family, and decided to improve his standard of living. Noticing that his fellow immigrants flocked to Mexican food cars stationed near the airport, Raul looked for start-up funding for one of his own. Another Mexican family referred him to The Loan fund in 2006.
With our $15,000 loan, Raul purchased a cart and started selling “something I really knew how to make and other people didn’t:” tortas, a meat sandwich served on a crusty, oblong white sandwich roll. Raul used Mama Lucia’s meat marinade recipes, the tortas began “selling like crazy,” and he had to enlist his cousin to help. Inspired to open a restaurant, he asked us again for assistance. Our second $31,000 loan in 2009 helped Raul pay off the first loan in full and launch Jalapeño’s.
Two local newspapers published favorable reviews, which helped attract a broad cross-section of the community. Raul says his customers appreciate both Mama Lucia’s recipes and the highquality products he uses. He consistently strives to improve his menu offerings, regularly traveling to Mexico to search for new ideas and recipes.
The restaurant and the food cart employ six people (Raul’s wife, Janet also assists him), and he is clearly proud of his accomplishments. “We pay taxes. It makes me feel good that we are doing something for the economy. I’ll never be rich, but I have things I never would have had.” He eventually hopes to open a second food cart and another restaurant.
Raul is grateful to The Loan Fund for supporting his dream of financial independence. “We were broke when they gave us the loans, and we’ve paid them back. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”