The saying goes, “Do what you love, and the money will follow.”
Marco Carlos Antonio Compan, who prefers to go through Carlos, took this advice very seriously.
Carlos has worked in the restaurant business for 32 years.
“All my life,”he says.
And, he still loves what he does.
Carlos has played many roles in the food preparation industry, serving delicious food everywhere from nursing homes to hospitals and, of course, restaurants.
His latest venture into the restaurant business has taken him to Winnebago, where he is the proud owner-operator of one of the city’s newest restaurants: Jalapenos.
It was his family that led him to move from Fountain, Colorado to Winnebago six months ago.
Carlos’ sister, Elsa Wilson, has lived in Faribault County with her husband, Gene, for two years. However, the couple lived in Fountain with Carlos.
“I came to visit my sister on vacation”Carlos remembers. “I fell in love with this city. In summer, it’s beautiful, so green.
Sensing his affinity for the area, Elsa encouraged Carlos to move.
At the time, Carlos owned a restaurant in Fountain: Salsas, the Original. When his lease was not renewed last year, he decided to take the plunge and move from Colorado to Minnesota.
“I saw this place (for) sale – I made the decision. I decided to follow Elsa’s advice and move here”,Carlos summarizes.
The Winnebago building that now houses Jalapenos is over 100 years old – Carlos says it was built in 1901. It used to be a pharmacy and also housed another Mexican restaurant before Carlos bought it.
Carlos made extensive renovations to the space before opening it to the public. He fixed the plumbing, painted the interior and installed new equipment in the kitchen. He also carried out a thorough cleaning of the entire space.
Jalapenos was immaculate and ready for its April 18 opening.
Carlos Shares business has been going well so far.
“Some days it’s a bit busy,”he says.
Above all, he strives to serve fresh, quality food to his customers.
Its menu features traditional Mexican cuisine, with a twist, such as tacos, burritos, carne asada fries, enchiladas, nachos, and chimichangas.
Carlos says the ground beef tacos have been the most popular menu item so far. However, his favorite is the tacos barbacoa.
Meanwhile, her favorite part of the restaurant business itself is simple: cooking.
“I like to build food for customers,”Carlos said. He laughs, adding: “I like compliments. I have contact (with food).
He adds that he is grateful for the patience of the community as he seeks more employees to join the Jalapenos staff.
“We are looking for help”notes Carlos.
Currently, apart from Carlos, it is mainly his family members who help him establish Jalapenos.
Gene, her brother-in-law, is the general manager of the restaurant. Meanwhile, Elsa often offers part-time help.
Nevertheless, the working family is able to maintain fairly extended hours. Jalapenos is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day except Sunday.
You’d think that after all that cooking, Carlos and his family would want to spend their time anywhere but the kitchen once they’re out for the day.
However, Carlos says he and his family enjoy cooking for themselves when they’re not cooking for others.
Besides the Wilsons, Carlos’ family includes his brother, Alejandro, and his sister-in-law, Stacy, who both still live in Colorado.
For now, Carlos himself is invested in the county of Faribault.
He hopes one day to be able to open a second restaurant in the region.
“I have to be patient”he adds, however.
Right now, Jalapenos is his top priority and he’s excited to see where his future takes him.