A Constant Challenge

Photo of Don Manolo laboring at the kitchen

Despite the excitement of the celebration, the owner acknowledges that it has not been easy to stay afloat for four decades.

"We have suffered several economic crisis. In the 80's the world situation, in the 90's the closures of pharmaceutical companies that were loyal customers ... but thank God we survived," said Caamaño.

One of the advantages of the establishment is that many employees have been working there for many years and know very well the customers tastes. For example, Onassis Columbus, Captain of the room, spent ten years at the restaurant, while the Argentine waiter José Fernández soon will meet two decades there. In addition, every year the restaurant closes operations during the month of July for vacation.

"The challenge we face now is that there is a whole generation of people that doesn't know us. Customers who were faithful 30 years ago are no longer able to leave their homes for dinner or lunch. Now it's our turn to go out and get new customers to try us", Caamaño said.

The entrepreneur still remembers the days when he started his career in Puerto Rico by opening El Cid restaurant in Condado, then started La Casona at Torre de la Reina building, and years later moved to their current location, which originally had room for 70 people; today can accommodate more than 500.

"We are very excited with all that we have accomplished over the years and will continue working to stay here until people want", said Caamaño.

Photo of spiral staircase leading to the cellar