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Two teenage strangers separately fleeing civil war in El Salvador in 1978, Gloria and Jose Fuentes eventually met in Texas, married and created Gloria’s Latin Cuisine.

The Fuentes family owns and operates nearly 20 eateries statewide, including the newest in The Rim at 17623 La Cantera Parkway, Suite 103. It opened in July.

By 1986, the couple assumed a restaurant originally started by Gloria’s sister in Oak Cliff, a Dallas borough, featuring tamales and pupusas, a traditional Salvadoran dish with cheese, pork or both in a thick corn tortilla.

Then-Gov. William “Bill” Clements Jr. even frequented the eatery, according to the chain’s history.

Daughters Glenda Fuentes-Cortez and Nancy Fuentes now work at the company, carrying on the family tradition.

“Just as any immigrants coming from another country, they just wanted to work and send money back to their families in El Salvador,” Nancy Fuentes said. “This has always just been them working hard and making that American dream come true.”

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Today’s menu includes Salvadoran, Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites. Fuentes said her parents add to it if they’re inspired during their travels.

A popular dish is Gloria’s Super Special, which includes one chicken tamale, one pupusa, yucca, fried plantains and gallo pinto — a mix of rice and beans. Fuentes said the chain is also known for its margaritas.

“Gloria’s … gives this feel of family when you walk in, because it’s family-owned. We don’t want to lose that feeling. We don’t want to make it feel like it’s a corporate restaurant, because it’s not,” the daughter said.

On Saturdays around 11 p.m., the restaurant transforms into a salsa-dancing nightclub. According to Fuentes, the original location was voted top five in the nation for the dance.

Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.


GLORIA’S LATIN CUISINE

17623 La Cantera Parkway, Suite 103 For more,

call 210-451-5412 or visit gloriascuisine.com

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