By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Twitter: @PGJournal
Posted: August 1, 2019 | 12:30 p.m.
Pedraza achieves dream of opening authentic Mexican restaurant
PRINCE GEORGE – Jose Luis Pedraza, known as Luis to family and friends, has for all intents and purposes, fulfilled his life’s goals and dreams with the soft opening of his second restaurant, Morelia’s, located at 6619 Courthouse Road in Prince George.
Morelia is named after the small Mexican town that the Pedraza family immigrated from in 1995 when Luis was just a 13-year-old boy. The difference in this restaurant, as opposed to Pedraza’s other very popular restaurant in Prince George, Luca’s, is that Morelia’s serves authentic Mexican cuisine, something Luis has always wanted to do. After all, he hailed from Mexico, he loved Mexican food and knew how to prepare this food in the authentic, traditional, and delicious Mexican way.
“I worked long and hard before I could open my first restaurant,” Luis Pedraza said. “An opportunity became available when Luca’s, an Italian restaurant in Prince George, went up for sale. It was my dream to have a Mexican restaurant though. I had worked at an Italian restaurant, Giuseppe’s, in Dinwiddie for years, even as a young teenager. I had begun working as a dishwasher but worked hard to move up the ladder. I worked my way up to running the kitchen as the head cook and became really good at preparing Italian cuisine. So, I felt like the opportunity of buying Luca’s Italian Restaurant, was an opportunity I should not pass up. My wife, Carmela, and I were both nervous about taking on so much debt, but we decided we must do this for our young family. We are both glad that we did because Luca’s became so successful, that we eventually expanded and moved Luca’s to a better and larger location.”
When the Pedraza’s expanded Luca’s to the new location, they retained the old Luca’s building in hopes of someday opening their own authentic Mexican restaurant, with that dream finally coming true.
Even though they are in the midst of soft opening for the next month as the restaurant’s staff is trained and glitches are worked out, a grand opening will be conducted in early September when Luis’ parents, Evilia and Luis Pedraza, return to America. The Pedraza family consists of Luis; his wife Carmela; a 15-year-old son, Luis; an 11-year-old daughter, Samantha; and a soon-to-be 3-year-old daughter, Mia.
“There are still a lot of kinks and bugs that have to be worked out before the official grand opening of Morelia’s,” Pedraza said. “Most of the staff of Morelia’s is new, and are in training. We are already serving great food though, and we are very excited. My wife is running Morelia’s. It is very much a family-run business. My sister-in-law is helping. My oldest daughter will help behind the scenes whenever she can. My oldest son is also going to pitch in from time-to-time. I have a very talented and trusted friend, Ruben Hernandez that is running the kitchen. Since the unofficial soft opening on Monday, July 8, so many people have told us how great the food is, and this makes me very pleased. When I was that young teenager, working at Giuseppe’s and going to school at Dinwiddie High, my father said it was going to be up to me and him to take care of the family, and that we must work hard. Going to school each day, then walking from the trailer park where we lived to work at Giuseppe’s in the afternoons and on weekends, did pay off. Next week I will purchase the second Luca’s location in South Hill, Virginia. The American dream is real. God is truly good, and my family is truly blessed.”
Morelia’s is located at 6619 Courthouse Road in Prince George, across from the Prince George County Police Department and government complex and a short walk from Scott Memorial Park.