Owner: Alba Guerra
Business: Sunrise Restaurant
Address: 3126 24th St.
Product: Salvadoran food
What gave you your idea to start your business?
I was born in El Salvador, an orphan who grew up under my older sister’s care, but the situation was difficult there due to war. I came to the United States 25 years ago and arrived in the Mission Neighborhood, leaving behind one daughter. I got experience in the food industry and dreamed of opening my own restaurant. I wanted to be my own boss, having a place where people can gather and enjoy being in a familiar and healthy environment. I also wanted to provide fair employment opportunities that support not just employees, but also their families.
What has your experience been opening a business in the Mission?
It has an amazing experience because I lives her and work here. The Mission has a unique history and I wanted to be part of the neighborhood legacy. Sunrise Restaurant has overcome difficult situations, but I still believe that my contribution is important to the Mission. I have been supported by customers’ trust and local agencies, and I give back by hosting fundraising activities where I donated 20 percent of the event sales.
How does your business/business idea relate to your life?
The name of my restaurant has its own story. A children’s Salvadoran poet, who is a friend of mine, always called me Mananita, which translates as sunrise in English. Sunrise Restaurant is not just a place to work – it is also my family space. My sons spent much time here since they were little because of my needed to be at the restaurant. My husband and two sons have been involved with the restaurant duties throughout the years. Although my older son is studying film far from the Mission, once he graduates he wants to support the family business with his talent. Same for my younger son, who attends high school and wants to become an architect. The Sunrise Restaurant location is like a second home for them. My daughter is still living in El Salvador and graduated as an industrial engineer.
Why should potential customers invest in small businesses?
I start my daily restaurant activities very early. Sunrise Restaurant opens at 7 a.m., providing a vegan/vegetarian breakfast menu, plus typical American and Latin breakfast foods. This early schedule has allowed Sunrise to be selected for young clients who attend morning school. My restaurant is located on 24th Street, bustling with people every day. I offer quality food, and regular clients are very satisfied with my catering.
Where do you see your business in five years?
I have set new goals for my food business. I have the idea of distributing my vegan chorizo at chain store, plus create new job opportunities. I have been serving this sausage for years and it is in hot demand. I also hope to hire more employees that will ensure the recipe’s quality, so I can act as the main Sunrise hostess to meet and greet customers. I also want a complete business image makeup for the Sunrise commercial space. My dreams are big, but everything is possible.
What do you love about the Mission?
The Mission is a vibrant neighborhood, which is my home where I belong. My sons were born and raised here. This is my culture: I want to be part of the Mission legacy and keep contributing to the community. Living and working in the Mission means much to my family and me.