Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Fernando Rosas, Co-Owner of La Casa Del Pandebono, located in East Boston, MA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Our business is a small restaurant/bakery located on the corner between Princeton & Meridian St., serving a variety of platillos tipicos from El Salvador, Mexico, and Colombia. We opened our doors in April of 2019 and have been steadily establishing ourselves as a friendly restaurant that loves serving our locals and also a place that provides a wide variety of fresh Central and South American traditional dishes.

Our goal as a family-owned business has always been to merge our cultures in one place where our guests can experience a diversity of delicious and popular old-style cuisine from El Salvador, Mexico, and Colombia. We are proud to serve the diverse community of East Boston and are excited by the idea that our dishes will be familiar to many but also new to some.

Tell us about yourself

I came to the USA in 2006 with no experience at all in the culinary world. My first job (as a dishwasher) was the beginning of my journey in the restaurant business. When I got the opportunity to train as a cook, I realized cooking was a bit challenging, but I enjoyed every minute. Within 3 months, I was working simultaneously in every kitchen station. I got a second job as a food runner and busser in a French restaurant, where I struggled a lot for not speaking the language. Sometimes I would hide in the bathroom when a customer asked for something and felt ashamed for not understanding a single word that they were saying.

My coworkers saw that I wanted to succeed (I was only 17 at the time with no family), broke but motivated to be better and learn. They found me a school in Brookline, where I started attending while working three jobs, I was determined to learn, and my only dream at the time was to become a bartender (I was young, and I saw my amigos working behind the bar and I knew my next step was to become a server if I wanted to become a bartender in the future).

I have learned the language, and I've worked in every single station that a restaurant has (including the bar manager and AGM). What motivates me nowadays are my two daughters. I'm a first generation, and I have the responsibility to do better and build something for them. I wanted them to go to school and open as many doors as they want and not hesitate. I wanted them to have what was very limited to me when I was young.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment so far has been to connect with my community in ways I have never done before, and I have to thank my small restaurant for that. I walked around East Boston and realized that many of my clients are locals, and they make me feel like I'm at home when they greet me on the street. I realize that success can't be measured for the amount of money I have in my banking account (my banking account sometimes is sad to look at, lol) but for the chance I have to meet new people every day, and they represent a new opportunity for my family and me.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

When it is time to make decisions, you know that your employees rely on you to make the right one. There are families (including yours) depending financially on this business, and most of these decisions involve getting out of your shell and fearlessly taking action to keep your business afloat, especially around these days when it seems that inflation will not stop anytime soon.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Your business is unique, and even though you can get certain ideas from other successful businesses, don't let it change your entire business plan.
  2. Stick to what you know best, and master it.
  3. Your community will support you only if you support your community back; it is a two-way street.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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