On either side of the entrance to Fiesta Acapulco, a Mexican restaurant in Newburgh, lies a message carved into a slab of stone. “Living our dreams,” it reads. The brand-new, 6,000-square-foot restaurant and packed parking lot testify to the success of owners Melvin and Blanca Ortez, who arrived in the United States years ago in search of the American dream. With a lakefront patio for outdoor dining, an expanded menu, a new Web site, and even a new name, Fiesta Acapulco — the couple’s fourth restaurant — opened in July.
In 1993, Melvin left his home in Honduras and settled in Houston, where he took a job at a seafood restaurant and later was transferred to the Nashville area to train cooks. There, he met Blanca, who hailed from the Jalisco region of Mexico. The couple married in 1999, and during the early 2000s, Melvin managed Mexican restaurants in Nicholasville, Ky. Finally, the couple took a leap of faith and opened their first Acapulco restaurant in 2003 in Newburgh’s Apple Center. A La Grange, Ky., establishment followed the next year, and they opened a North Green River Road location in 2006
The new Fiesta Acapulco, which replaced the Apple Center restaurant, stemmed from a desire for a better location and more traffic. The lot at the intersection of Bell Road and High Pointe Drive, across the street from Newburgh’s new Wal-Mart, fit the bill, says Melvin. He built the restaurant from the ground up, gaining 1,000 square feet (mostly in kitchen space), adding an outdoor patio, and incorporating a children’s playroom with a flat-screen television and a painted underwater scene mural. The coupled poured an estimated $1.4 million into Fiesta Acapulco: “But it’s worth it,” says Melvin. “It’s a much better location. It’s beautiful where we are. We really like it.”