As a little boy, Hector Leon loved to watch his family cook. That love evolved into a dream to someday open a restaurant of his own.
For Leon, 20, his Vista Linda Mexican Restaurant in Tooele City is that dream come true. The restaurant opened nearly four months ago and business has been good.
“I have wanted to start this since I was a little kid,” he said. “I watched my family cook and I wanted to share it. It was a dream so we took every opportunity we had.”
Vista Linda means “Beautiful View,” and is located on 21 E. Vine Street. It is open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Prices range from $2.99 to $7.99 for platters, and $1 for desserts.
“One of our goals here is to be part of the community,” Leon said. “We want affordable prices for everybody. We want to provide good, authentic Mexican food.”
Main dishes and customer favorites include the fajitas or the smothered burrito. The fajitas can be steak or chicken with a side of beans, rice, cheese, salad and sour cream. The smothered burritos come with rice and beans, with a variety of meat choices, such as carnitas, steak, chicken, beef tongue, beef head, or shredded beef.
“I got the recipes from my mom,” said Leon. And bringing those recipes to life everyday is his mother, Marisa, who is the restaurant’s cook.
Vista Linda is also known for its desserts, such as churros and Apple Cream. Everything in the restaurant is homemade, and is prepared fresh daily.
“It’s one of those things you have to try to like,” he added about his authentic, homemade Mexican food.
Vista Linda also serves breakfast. The breakfast platters are $3.99 and burritos are $2.99. And customers can order breakfast anytime of the day.
“Breakfast is something we do try to push on and do better than our competitors,” Leon said.
Vista Linda already has many customers. They are generously served by Leon, his mother, friends of the family, along with others from the community.
“My staff is amazing,” he said. “They run everything smoothly and arrive happy to serve. They are very hardworking and supportive.”
He added, “My biggest help is my family, and Norma Gondalez, who is the general manager and a server in the mornings, as well as the customers who come in. I give a special thanks to Mike, Al, Marie, Chris, Mel and many more that spread the news of our restaurant around.”
Leon was born in California and moved from Arizona to Tooele a year ago. He said he loves the area because “it is nice and friendly.”
To make his dream come true, Leon said there were barriers to break through to succeed. It took a lot of hard work to establish Vista Linda, and he is proud of the results.
“My barriers were finding out how to register the business, getting enough people to help, finances, city and state requirements, and getting support,” he said. “I didn’t have as many barriers because I was dedicated and I had support from my family.”
He added, “It took passion, dedication and a little bit of capital and the people around me. We needed the support and fortunately, we got it from everyone in Tooele. If you feel like you can do it, do it.”
Leon loves all of the dishes that are served at Vista Linda.
“My personal favorite is the smothered burritos and the churros, but I love it all,” he said. “I am glad we have something we can share with everybody for inexpensive costs to remember the happy moments. We want to stay here and help the community as much as we can.”
To place orders to go or for more information, call 435-228-6487. The establishment also has a Facebook page called Vista Linda Restaurant.
Peatross is a sophomore at Tooele High School.