By Lorena Sahagun-Perez
My name is Lorena and my family started La Hacienda Family Mexican Restaurant in 1990. Our first restaurant opened in Washington State and is still operating. The family has opened many restaurants in that state since then and three are still open.
My dad, Ruben Sahagun, was born in Cuautla, Jalisco, Mexico. The small community is about 2 hours from Guadalajara, which has a ranch where my dad was born. The ranch was named La Hacienda de Abajo. It was not a very big ranch, but they have cattle and a river runs through the land. I still visit that ranch about once a year and I love to visit the area that gave us its name.
Dad and mom moved to the California Bay Area where they lived for a couple of years and in 1983 we moved to Washington State. Dad started to work at various restaurants, first as a dishwasher, bus boy, then as a server, and finally as a restaurant manager. He learned the business and was a very hard worker. Thanks to my parents’ dedication, they have created a legacy for my siblings, their grandchildren, and me.
In 2013 my dad made a trip to Tucson and found the area very nice. It reminded him of the land he had grown up in. Soon, both my mom and dad made a second trip to look for areas to possibly open a restaurant. He signed two leases on that trip.
Soon, my dad, my husband, Gildardo, two close friends that worked in the Washington restaurants and myself made the move to Tucson to start the restaurants. Mom, my sister, Jessica and my brother Ruben Jr. stayed in Washington to run the restaurants up there. My sister is a nurse, but her husband manages one of the restaurants, she couldn’t quite escape the restaurant business. When we were in high school she would pretend to be sick so she wouldn’t have to go to work as a hostess. She would have me cover for her and I genuinely enjoyed it very much and I still do!
My grandmothers, still live in Mexico. We visit them about once a year and we absolutely love their food! My dad’s mom was still making cheese and chasing chickens a few years ago while in her nineties. My mom’s mom is in her 80’s and belongs to an elderly folklore dance group. We are definitely a resemblance of their perseverance.
My Husband and I have three children. Fernando is 12 years old. Lorena is ten and Fabiola is six. We work all the time, but we spend as much time as we can with the children.
We love the outdoors, so we take hikes or we go for walks in the desert with our kids. We are very family oriented and when we are not at work we are with family.
Dad . . . Ruben, My husband, Gildardo and Myself manage the restaurant. When we are all there, you can find dad working the bar, I usually manage the front of the house and my husband manages the kitchen. My husband is actually the Chef that adopted my parents’ recipes and has perfected them with a Jalisco-Michoacán fusion.
We take pride in the quality of service, our product and its taste is the very best we can get it and the cleanliness of our restaurant is always top of mind. Our slogan is “Where the flavor makes the difference.” Everything we do is done with love and dedication. I think you can really feel it as soon as you walk into any of our restaurants, especially the one in Oro Valley.
Dad also takes a lot of pride in the decorations of the restaurant. He loves to work with colors, textures, pictures and so on, until he gets the atmosphere that he is looking for.
Ruben is the go-getter in the restaurant. He is the idea man. Mom is financially savvy. My husband and I make things happen, so we have quite a dynamic going on!
La Hacienda, employs about 30 people at any one time. They are open 11 am to 9 pm seven days a week.
I also manage the catering side of the business. As Director of Catering, I am responsible for getting and making people aware of our catering program, taking care of our catering truck and scheduling our staff to satisfy the catering side of the house.
We do weddings, funerals, family parties, birthdays, etc. We can handle 20 – 400 people. Some foods can be cooked on site and others are cooked at the restaurant and transported to the site on our heated/cooling catering truck.
Dad started his entrepreneur life as a child. He was selling Jello-cups at 6 years old. He learned how to manage his money and save to get the things he wanted. As an adult, he now enjoys all his toys that he did not have as a child. He now collects a variety of cars. He especially loves vintage cars.
So, if you are looking to have delicious Mexican food in the Tucson area, with the best quality ingredients, made to perfection with mom and dad’s recipes, designed to represent the different regions of Mexico, please stop by and see us. We would love to meet you and let us show you the Taste of Tradition.
11931 N 1st Ave.