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Taking the heat, to stay in the kitchen

Pineville restaurants open up during pandemic
Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 7:09 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 29, 2021 at 7:14 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - It’s stressful enough starting a new restaurant, but imagine trying to do it during a pandemic. Two Pineville restaurants are taking the leap of faith.

“It’s been hard,” said Olivia Gomez. “We are working like so hard.”

Gomez and her husband Fabian just opened up Tequila Mexican Restaurant on Hwy. 28 East in Pineville. You’ve probably seen the big green sign off the road.

“It was like a quarantine project at first and now we are finally opened,” said Gomez.

It’s one heck of a quarantine project, especially adding a pandemic to the mix. They do have experience in starting restaurants, this is their fourth one.

“It’s been hard, we’ve been working so hard,” said Gomez.

So, they had to take some inspiration from the restaurant’s name - stay strong and take your shot.

“And all those difficult times it was even hard to find a place to get permits with all the offices for the state closing during the pandemic.”

So, maybe they can talk with another restaurant owner who is doing the same thing. Chef John Valenzuela opened up Quebedeaux’s Cajun Cafe’ in the Kingsville area of Pineville back in September at the start of the pandemic. Now, he’s taking the heat and staying in the kitchen.

“Not as big of sales as we thought we’d do, but it’s coming,” said Valenzuela.

One of his signature dishes is called the “Cenla Couyon” which translates to “Cenla Crazy”, but don’t mistake that for what he’s cooking up.

“When you have faith in what you are doing and you have faith in the community, you can’t lose,” said Valenzuela.

He has put a lot of heart and soul into the food and this dream.

“The restaurant is mainly about the people and about the good food we are bringing here,” said Valenzuela.

We heard the same sentiment over at Tequila.

“We love this community and the community gives us a lot of love and we want to give that back to them,” said Gomez.

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