Building upon the ‘dream’: Local restraunteur goes to work after getting off work
Published 12:23 am Friday, February 27, 2015
An opportunity to live the American Dream is what brought Luis Angel to this country from Mexico. However, it was the American Dream that was killing him.
Angel owns El Sombrero, Sol Azteca and several other Mexican restaurants and works late into the evenings.
“Six years ago I started to get really depressed, all I did was work go home and sleep,” he said. “I’d get up and deal with problems, then this changed my life.”
The thing that changed Angel’s life was working out at Wyatt’s Gym. Wyatt’s is a busy place even late into the evening. From El Sombrero the gym is just a short minute or two drive.
“Since James Wyatt moved here, this is the best thing he could have done for us,” Angel said. “I was dying, I weighed about 135 pounds and now I’m up to 180.
“When I started working out I wished I would have started 20 years sooner,” he said.
Born in the Mexican state of Jalisco near Guadalajara, Angel first came to the United States as a boy. His father was a migrant farm laborer and died at 39-years-old near Los Angeles. Angel went back to Mexico and returned when he was 18-years-old.
Angel has lived in Vicksburg for 18 years and considers it his hometown.
“There’s something about Vicksburg that I wouldn’t leave,” he said. “I have four restaurants in Jackson and I wouldn’t leave here.”
He took a circuitous route to get to Vicksburg. He worked in Atlanta, Ga. then moved to Tuscaloosa, Ala. He worked for La Fiesta there for 5 years, then the company moved to Columbus, Miss.
“I was tired of working for someone else for little money. So I opened a little restaurant in Starkville,” Angel said.
From there his American Dream really took off. At one time Angel owned 19 Mexican Restaurants in Mississippi. That dream would lead him to a mundane life until he discovered exercise.
“I just enjoy it is stress relief,” he said. “I come to the gym nearly every night, at least 4 or 5 times a week.”
He doesn’t come alone either. He usually brings a couple of his employees with him.
“All the people that work for me are like family we’re all friends,” he said.
“Originally we opened El Sombrero on Washington Street before moving to the shopping center in front of what is now Tractor Supply Company,” he said.
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Angel is used to being self-reliant and designed and helped build El Sombrero at its current location off South Frontage Road. When looking to purchase tables he discovered that it would be more cost effective to make them himself with some help from his friends.
“This is the real American Dream. Nobody in Mexico would ever dream of owning their own restaurant or making a good living working for themselves,” he said. “I thank God and there is nothing I could give that could pay back what I have. I don’t know how to begin to pay it back. Being a good citizen and doing what I can do for my hometown is all I can do.”