La Salvadoreña is a highlight of the Vinton Business District thanks to the determination of Blanca Tenorio

Blanca Tenorio remembers when she arrived from El Salvador like it was yesterday way back on January 2006: "I was studying engineering at the Universidad Nacional de San Miguel, but my whole family was already here, so I started to feel lonely."

When she arrived in the United States, Tenorio began to work at restaurants because her relatives own three: "One day I thought 'I won't be a waitress my whole life,' so I began to fight to have something of my own."

By chasing that dream, four years ago the young curly haired woman with light-colored eyes bought La Salvadoreña restaurant: "I had started as an entrepreneur with my store Blanca's Boutique where I sold perfumes and clothing, but this one was a big challenge." With the support of her mother who takes care of her kids, a five-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl, Tenorio opens her fine establishment every day and offers food and dishes from her country, as well as from Honduras and Mexico. "If clients let me know in advance, I can also prepare some dishes from Guatemala."

Her husband, who works in the construction business, takes care of purchasing most of the ingredients, while Tenorio, with the help of four women who include her sister and niece, tend to diners - most of which are from Central America: "We have specials on every day. For example, on Mondays and Thursdays we have pupusas from El Salvador which cost only a dollar, and on Tuesdays, we have baleada from Honduras. Wednesdays we have several types of Mexican tacos."

Along with having a menu with affordable prices, Tenorio works hard so that each of its specialties is reflected in its unique home-style flavor: "I love to make caldos, especially with seafood. I can make a seafood tapado from Honduras, which is similar to a dish from El Salvador, or a siete mares caldo from Mexico, with a lot of chile, of course."

On top of seafood based dishes, empanadas, cakes and fried banana with cream and cheese with fried beans from El Salvador are some of the favorite dishes that Latino families order at La Salvadoreña: "I even make pupusas with rice flour which are very good and that not many people know about."

Tenorio, always more than happy to share her incomparable seasoning, is thrilled about the important renovations for her restaurant. "Vinton Street is not as popular as 24th Street, but nowadays there are many businesses from 20th to 13th St, so there's a lot of support. Thanks to Marta Sonia (Londoño, MLCDC) and Mabel (Alarcon, Microbusinesses Program at Catholic Charities) a project I presented has been approved, and we got a grant for it, so it is only a matter of time before we can get started and work on making the restaurant even prettier."

And even though it is not easy being an entrepreneur when you're a mother and wife, Tenorio is not one to give up. "Every day is a victory."
Marina Rosado

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