The taste of El Salvador

A fine palate and a true passion for his country's dishes led Erick Figueroa to start his own business, El Guanaco Salvadorian Restaurant.

While working as a truck driver throughout California, Figueroa always tried to find a place that would offer authentic traditional food from his native El Salvador. With no real findings, Figueroa decided he would open his own restaurant.

"I knew nothing about restaurants or cooking, but I learned and today I can honestly say we have the best Salvadorian restaurant in Northern California," said Figueroa, 36.

El Guanaco Restaurant opened its doors in 2007 and his clientele continues to grow and Figueroa believes it's because of the menu's authenticity.

"I get my chicken fresh from a farm in Los Ángeles instead of buying frozen chicken in bulk which would be cheaper," explains Figueroa. "I also get products like arrayán, flor de loroco, cheese, and pork sausage imported from El Salvador so that the food gets that authentic flavor. Yes, that is more expensive but the clients value that and they continue to eat here with us."

Figueroa's future plans include opening another Salvadorian restaurant in Sacramento this year.