Luis Tejeda came to the United States from the Dominican Republic to go to college… then plans changed, he would say, for the better.
“Basically my college became to be a family,” said Luis Tejeda, president of D’Mangu.
He had three kids and decided to stay in Rochester, but felt it was important his kids knew their roots.
“In the United States, we have so many cultures and I think that it’s good to have a little piece of your country nearby,” he says.
He created D’Mangu, bringing the taste of native Dominican food to Rochester. Without having funds to rent a building, he started as a vendor at RIT.
“We got five days that we go to RIT and we decided to open something in the area so that students can come over and enjoy a piece of the Dominican Republic we have here.”
Nearly a decade later they are serving about 300 people everyday within the few hours they are open. And that’s not including the people he is serving at his two restaurants near the City of Rochester.
“I never thought it was going to be this big,” he says. “My credit card, they see the name and they say, ‘Oh your the owner of this place’ and that makes me proud.”
Tejeda takes trips back to the Dominican Republic each time bringing new plates and drinks to share with the community. “Drinks that the idea came from the Dominican Republic like the Mama Juana came from the Dominican Republic.”
Though he says it wasn’t easy, it’s still not easy, what keeps him going? “My family keep me motivated all the time. I don’t want my kids to learn how to go back. I want my kids to see that when things are hard you can definitely make it.”
Pretty soon the Norton and Portland Avenue community will be getting a taste of the Dominican food and culture when he opens up another restaurant next year.