Claudia and Gerardo Guiterrez have been serving la cocina nortena to their immigrant community for almost a decade now. Authentic Northern Mexican food had been challenging to come by in the Twin Cities. They started by grilling outside of their home on Fridays for friends and family. Quickly this became both Friday and Saturday nights and then continued to grow into their successful restaurant Hamburguesas El Gordo. That growth has not yet stopped, with four locations open today.
Their food is focused on hot dogs (or dogos), massive hamburgers, and tacos with fresh tortillas. Knowing their clientele were missing the flour and corn tortillas of back home, they ordered a tortilla press from Texas. Three employees come in at 5:00am each day to make tortillas. It’s the dedication to quality, friendliness, and richness that has allowed such explosive growth.
It wasn’t easy opening their Minneapolis location but with MCCD’s loan program Claudia was able to work with Cindy, MCCD Senior Loan Program Manager, to secure financing for a fully operational restaurant. With guidance from Mónica Romero at the City of Minneapolis and resources from MCCD, Claudia has created over 45 sustainable jobs even during the COVID pandemic.
Cindy at MCCD has been an instrumental partner in their business growth. By stopping loan payments for months after the initial organization’s policy to defer for a shorter time, they were able to continue the growth that has made the business more stable. She also connected Claudia to the Small Business Emergency Loan Program, which gave them much-needed financing to survive the turbulence of closures due to COVID.
Ask any neighbor of the location, from the Quinceanera dress shop across the street to the homeowners in Standish-Ericsson. It’s a favorite!