By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Email: Click Here
Posted: Jan. 22, 2017 | 2:20 p.m.
PRINCE GEORGE – Jose Luis Pedraza, the owner of Luca Italian Restaurant, a Prince George institution, is set to move from its current location of 6619 Courthouse Road to just up the road to 6411 Courthouse Road, across from the Prince George Government Complex and Historic Courthouse building.
Plans are to have the new Luca’s up-and-running in February of 2018, with weather and construction permitting.
“The new Luca’s will be more spacious, with rooms for parties and special events, a 100-person capacity banquet room, and seasonal outdoor dining,” said Pedraza. He continued, “Many have expressed concerns about menu changes because they already love the dishes we prepare. They do not have to worry. We will still have all of Luca’s favorites, but we will also be adding more seafood items and a rib-eye steak to the menu.”
Pedraza will convert the present location of Luca’s to a Mexican Restaurant, which has yet to be named.
“It will take two or three months after the new opening of Luca’s, but this is only natural,” said Pedraza. He continued, “I immigrated to this country from Mexico in 1995, when I was a 13-year-old boy. I am always asked to do Mexican food for special events, and we have even added several Mexican items to the menu at our present Luca’s, so expanding Luca Italian Restaurant to a newer larger location and finally opening my own Mexican Restaurant is humbling and a Blessing to me and my family.”
Pedraza’s immediate family consists of his wife, Carmela; a 14-year-old son, Luis; a 9-year-old daughter, Samantha; and a 1-1/2-year-old daughter, Mia.
Pedraza began his restaurant career as a dishwasher at Giuseppe’s in Dinwiddie.
“When my Dad brought our family to America, he told us to behave ourselves, to work hard, and to do well,” he shared. “Because of this, I am a hard worker, and I love that I can work. At first, my mom was washing dishes at Giuseppe’s when we came here, and I would walk with her to and from work from Harrison’s Trailer Park where we lived. Soon, my Father said that my mother should not have to walk all that way or work, but that she should stay home and we would support the family. So, I became a dishwasher. I went to Dinwiddie High School and graduated. I almost went to John Tyler College, but at that time, the money was just not there,” related Pedraza.
It was always Pedraza’s dream to open his own restaurant.
“Joe Buffa, owner of Giuseppe’s in Dinwiddie taught me everything and I spent more time with him than with my own family,” said Pedraza.
“When Luca Italian Restaurant came up for sale, it just seemed like it was meant to be,” Pedraza shared. “I learned everything about Italian cooking from Joe Buffa, who was like a father to me, and I had progressed to become their head cook. So, even though it seemed like a tremendous amount of money for Luca’s, I wanted this for myself and my family. I worked so hard those first few years, and we just barely turned any profit at all. We continued to work really hard, and it finally paid off—so much so that my family and I will now enlarge Luca’s at our new location and open our own Mexican restaurant.”
Pedraza said that Central Virginia, Dinwiddie, and Prince George have been so good to him and his family. He feels that with the success of Luca’s in Prince George, it is now high time that he expanded it, and also finally opened up his own Mexican Restaurant.
After adding several Mexican items to the Luca’s menu, he and his staff received many compliments. They also received requests for more of the Mexican fare and he has even catered many functions with his Mexican cuisine. He said that when both restaurants are up and running, either he or his wife will be in one-or-the-other at all times.
“I also have great help in running the businesses from family and a professional staff, such as April Power, that worked with me years ago at Giuseppe’s, and Angel Martinez. I am so grateful to my immediate family, my extended family, my staff, the patrons, and all of the residents of Prince George and Dinwiddie Counties,” said Pedraza.
“I am so glad to have come to this country. I worked hard, very hard, but I also worked hard as a boy in Mexico. I worked on my Grandma’s farm every day, so I have always appreciated working hard for yourself and your family. We came with nothing, were given nothing, but with hard work, we made something,” said Pedraza.
Copyright 2018 by Womack Publishing
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