Overland family reopens Mexican restaurant after fire

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Even in the midst of a pandemic, the family has not stopped fighting and more than a year later, Taqueria Durango has reopened.

OVERLAND, Mo. – Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions and achievements of Hispanics.

The month runs from September 15 to October 15.

To highlight their influence, 5 On Your Side focuses on those making an impact in the St. Louis area.

In this week’s final spotlight, we feature a Mexican family who were able to rebuild their business after a tragedy.

Angelica Lopez’s parents are from Mexico and got married in California. This is where she and her three sisters were born. From there, his father got a job opportunity in St. Louis and moved the family here in 1993.

A few years later, Dad got another opportunity in another area, but they decided to stay in St. Louis to start their own business in Overland.

That’s when their store opened in 2003.

Lopez says, “We thought we needed something. When we moved here there was only one store downtown. We went every weekend to buy tortillas and Mexican products. We wanted to have something closer, so that everyone could have it on the street. “

The store expands three years later.

But they didn’t stop there.

Soon after, the family built a restaurant next door, calling it Taqueria Durango.

The restaurant focused on specialty tacos, such as tongue and tripe.

However, in early March 2020, the restaurant and their family faced a horrific fire.

A kitchen fire broke out. The whole restaurant burned down.

“It was the hardest thing, it was terrible. It was a 100% total loss, it happened so fast, nothing to save,” Lopez says.

After 11 years, the family’s lifelong dream ignited within minutes.

Lopez said it was his parents’ livelihood.

In an interview in 2020, she said: “It breaks my heart. It makes me cry. They put their work aside to devote their lives to this and here we go.”

Fortunately, no one was injured and their store next door suffered very little damage.

But in a moment of chaos, a little hope shone.

After serving the community for over a decade, the roles have turned.

The community mobilized for the family.

A GoFundMe raised $ 14,000 and the restaurants worked together to create a fundraising event.

“It was amazing, we knew people loved our food and stuff, but we were surprised in a good way about the quality of this community,” says Lopez.

This is why, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck soon after, they also intensified.

The family has started distributing food to help families in the area.

“We made food distributions to give back because COVID hit hard and people were suffering,” Lopez adds.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, the family has not stopped fighting and more than a year later, Taqueria Durango has reopened.

In June 2021 it had its grand opening and the restaurant has been busy ever since.

“I think they like the variety of the food and it’s a family business,” Lopez told 5 On Your Side.

She says her family is united and feels the same connection with her community.

“I love this part of our culture and we always care about each other. We are so grateful for the support. We are so proud to be here and to have an amazing community around us,” she said. gratefully.

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