If you are a West Cobb local or have ever driven down Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw, chances are you’ve passed by Laredos Mexican Bar & Grill. It’s a longstanding family-owned restaurant run by a lovely local couple. Jones & Swanson had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with them to find out more about the story behind their successful Cobb County business.
Q: TELL US ABOUT YOURSELVES.
We are Juan and Lori Morales. We have been married for 33 years and have owned Laredos Mexican Bar & Grill in Kennesaw for 21 years, as of this past May. We have two children, Rique and Maggie; they are both adults now, but they grew up helping us here at the restaurant. So this has really been a family affair from the start.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR RESTAURANT’S ORIGIN STORY?
Lori: Juan always talked about wanting to start his own restaurant after he gained experience working in the kitchens of several different Mexican restaurants in the Metro Atlanta area. He learned all sorts of skills and worked his way up the ladder to a management position. That’s when he began thinking about starting his own Mexican restaurant.
Juan: I immigrated to the United States from Mexico, so there were not a lot of options for me as far as work that I could do without knowing English. I eventually learned English and saved up enough money to start my own place. That’s when we moved from Gwinnett County to West Cobb after renting this very building here in Kennesaw.
Q: HAVE YOU FELT SUPPORTED BY THE COMMUNITY?
Lori: They are the reason we are still around! We have seen families come in with their children and those children eventually come in with their own. We meet so many characters and have some of the most loyal customers you will ever meet. Some even come in every day and have for years! We have made lifelong friends and so have our children, just because of this restaurant and this community. We are blessed to be here!
Juan: 2020 was an especially hard year for our business like it was for many others, but this community rallied around us and they were still coming by to pick up their to-go orders and show their support.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY FUTURE PLANS FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Lori: This restaurant has provided for us and our family for many years. It has also been a way for us to serve our community. We have loved getting the opportunity to sponsor school events and provide food for different local businesses. But we are getting older and we are thinking about slowing down. In the next few years, we are hoping to either downsize to a smaller restaurant or maybe try something altogether new to us!