KLEW Community Heroes: Taco Cecy's American Dream
America can mean many things for immigrants. It can mean a land of opportunities and a chance to be free. But for a family who owns a small restaurant that only seats around 30 on Main Street in Lewiston, America means “una nueva vida:” a new life.
Taco Cecy's prides themselves on doing something not often seen anywhere else in the LC Valley.
"It's home cooking. It's homemade."
Cecilia Martinez and Jose Enriquez own the restaurant, and they say being authentic is the most important thing.
"The most authentic are the tacos, the tamales, the tortas, the quesadillas. The small things. It's more authentic than other Mexican restaurants."
Both Cecilia and Jose are from Mexico, around 150 miles south of Mexico City. They met each other over 25 years ago, and they've had big dreams ever since. Ten years ago they moved to Milton, Oregon to work as field hands.
"The jobs here payed better."
But that wasn't an easy life.
"The fields are much harder. Chopping apples, or cut asparagus, or pick onions, everything in the sun is harder than it is here with no sun."
But after a few years of work, they moved their lives again, this time to Lewiston. And for Cecilia and Jose, the reason was simple.
"There were no Mexican restaurants or food trucks."
They opened a food truck, and that's when Taco Cecy's was born, named after the head chef herself.
"In America, people sometimes say Cici. No, it's Cecy. My name's Cecilia."
After a few years on the truck, a small place on Main Street, seating no more than around 30 came up for rent.
"Excitement. I was excited that we would serve more people and it would be here in the restaurant instead of the truck."
Their current location has brought a different attitude to who they are as people, and how they run their restaurant. And you can see it before you even walk through the rust red front door.
"This is my house, and you can come eat inside like your house."
If you've ever eaten at Taco Cecy's, there are three words you'll always hear: “See you tomorrow.” Cecilia and Jose say that small town family aspect they bring to something as simple as tacos and burritos makes the experience that much better.
"We're happy because our customers leave happy."
It's taken close to ten years to get where they are today. They attribute it to their American dream.
"All of us who are here, if we want to achieve something, we can do it."
America means something different to Cecilia and Jose. It's a name they'll have with them for the rest of their lives with their daughter, America.
“When she was born, we said America meant life. That's why we named her America Miracles."
Business has more than doubled since they opened six years ago. Cecilia and Jose say their next dream is to move to a bigger location someday. And also maybe a couple more children.