Sweet success in Star City for Venezuelan siblings in the American restaurant industry
ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – A quick stop at the Crumbles store is how some people start their day. Later, they can have lunch at the Leonore restaurant. Then, for dinner, it’s pizza from Grace’s Place Pizzeria. These three Roanoke restaurants are each owned by one of the three siblings who left Venezuela for the United States.
“It makes me proud that we have accomplished something so many miles, 2,000 miles from home and coming here, working really hard and being received,” said Grace Niday, owner of Grace’s Place. Pizzeria.
Grace’s Place Pizzeria is where it all began. Grace and her brother Ruben Liendo opened the restaurant together before their brother Miguel Liendo joined them.
Gourmet pizzas, pastas and sandwiches are just a few of the items offered at Grandin Road Company. Although the food served is mostly Italian, Grace says she adds a little taste of her home country.
âWe kind of have a little Venezuelan touch with our sauces,â Grace said. âNormally you will find ricotta lasagna here, but ours doesn’t. We use bechamel sauce in it. And that’s how we used to see mom fix it.
The siblings’ mother, Leonore, died of cancer. About nine years ago, Miguel opened a restaurant on Campbell Avenue SW named after him.
âI love mom. I miss her and that was kind of a way to pay tribute to her,â said Miguel, owner of Restaurant Leonore.
Miguel’s Italian-Venezuelan restaurant is full of inspiration from his late mother, especially Carne en Salsa.
âThe first time I made it here I sat down to try it and it took me right back to my mom’s kitchen when she was serving it to us,â Miguel said.
Miguel and Grace’s brother, Ruben, owns Crumbles Store. This is a breakfast spot located on Kirk Avenue SW.
âWe have cookies. We have bagels. We have croissants, coffee and of course our number one product, cinnamon rolls, âsaid Ruben.
The cinnamon rolls are frozen like no other, giving customers a little taste of Venezuela.
âWe have this thing called golfeados and it’s pretty much the same technique, the same technique for rolling out the dough. You put sugar and everything, but we don’t use sugar, âRuben explained. âWe actually use natural cane sugar and cheese. So you have this sweet and salty in a bun, we cut it like a cinnamon bun, and we put a piece of cheese on top much like fresh mozzarella.
It might sound strange, but a customer told WFXR News that cinnamon buns are “really good.”
Ruben, Miguel and Grace all came to the United States in search of better opportunities, but they never thought they would find sweet success in the American restaurant industry by serving tasty dishes inspired by their mother. and their country of origin.
âToday I feel like it was worth it. It was worth coming here and we love our life here, âsaid Grace.
âIt’s not easy, but we are standing here,â Miguel said.
âAs an immigrant, coming to the United States which I call home now, I think it’s been a trip that I think we all enjoy,â Ruben said.
All three siblings said watching their mom cook in the kitchen when they were kids played a huge role in their love and passion for cooking.
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