Two Tucson Mexican restaurants facing two different realities

Latino businesses hit hardest

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Two owners from local Mexican restaurants are facing two different realities amid the growing health crisis.

Penca Mexican restaurant in downtown is barely making ends meet after just reopening in October, after a six-month shutdown.

“So that is six months without pay, without our employees receiving pay and the bills piling up,” said Karl Goranowski, Director of Operations with Penca.

Six months before the pandemic the downtown restaurant had 25 employees on staff, but now only 12 people are working the business.

He said he’s even had to adjust times. “We opened with limited hours, we opened with fewer days in the week open,” said Goranowski.

He worries cases are slightly on the rise again. Goranowski emphasizes the business can’t afford another shutdown; however, he is keeping a close on the situation.

However, not all Latino businesses are facing the same struggle. Jorge Rivas, co-owner of Sammy’s Mexican Grill, said that his business is doing great.

“We’ve been lucky because of the style of our business. We have a drive-thru and take out, so people already knew that and they kept coming,” said Rivas.

But he too is monitoring the pandemic and making plans as he sees fit.

“If the county or the state decides to shut down at least the dining part of it, I’m fine with it. I will do what I can to help stop the spread of the virus.”

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