Esaul Rodriguez, owner of Puerto Vallarta's restaurants in Connecticut, has brought a little of his birthplace, Jalisco, Mexico, to Connecticut. Esaul came from a large farming family in a small, but beautiful Mexican village, Union de Tula, in the state of Jalisco. Farming and ranching were among the only ways to make a living, but Esaul had bigger dreams and wanted more out of life. At age 16, speaking no English and with just six dollars in his pocket, he went to Seattle to work in his uncle's Mexican restaurant.
He learned fast, worked hard, and developed the skills necessary to be successful in the food service industry. He moved up from bus boy to waiter, then to cook where he managed people, schedules, products, vendors, budgets, and banking all the while, creating authentic Mexican dishes from scratch.
In 1991, at age 21, he opened his own Mexican restaurant in Oregon with his brother, Juan. Esaul expected to save some money and move back to Mexico, but was delightfully surprised to discover he was falling in love with America.
Determined to achieve a new goal to share the culture and warmth of his beloved Mexico and with everything on the line, Esaul came East to seek his fortune. He wanted to create a place where his guests could truly experience Mexican culture in addition to delicious, well-prepared foods and beverages made from scratch. His vision encompassed the smells, tastes, sounds, colors, flavors and beauty of Mexico. In 1999, after buying and completely transforming the former Edelweiss restaurant in West Hartford Center, Esaul opened his very first restaurant. His freshly-made foods, reasonable prices and authentic venue, were so unique to the area. Before long, people were lining up to eat at Puerto Vallarta.
With the success of his first restaurant, it was possible (and a smart idea) to open another in Connecticut. So in 2001, Esaul opened Puerto Vallarta in Newington. In 2003, the Middletown restaurant opened. Then in 2004, he opened the Southington location. In 2006 Avon followed, and Orange launched in 2012, with more locations yet to come…
Esaul’s hard work, his desire bonded with a vision of a great, traditional Mexican cuisine experience, his passion for his homeland and love for a land of prosperity - the United States - made his dream come true. Guests at Puerto Vallarta find their senses transported to a place that's vibrant, authentic, hospitable and traditional, a place that fosters an atmosphere in which customers may relax and enjoy.
"This place is like Union de Tula, only closer… just what I wanted to give to Connecticut." - Esaul
For a truly authentic Mexican dining experience, come to Puerto Vallarta!