Linda Stone – P.O.W.E.R.ful Woman
Co-owner, Casa Borrega | 1719 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans
Casa Borrega is a venue on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard offering traditional Mexican cuisine, fine agave spirits, Live Latin music and cultural events. The restaurant caters and hosts weddings and private parties. It is a certified green and socially responsible business that supports Latino, environmental and Central City organizations.
Q: How were you inspired to start your business?
My partner is an artist from Mexico City and I am an environmentalist from California and we share a love of Mexico. We have both been in New Orleans for close to 30 years, but in 2002, we took a break and moved to San Antonio for a few years. From there we made a lot of trips to Mexico, exploring and sampling food and drink from the different regions. We decided to share the Mexican cuisine and culture with the Crescent City. We also wanted to create something uniquely ours. We envisioned a beautiful space where diverse people and groups would come together.
Q: What were the biggest obstacles and how were they overcome?
The biggest obstacles we had to overcome were: 1) lack of funds; 2) building a restaurant from scratch without having run one before. I think the main thing in overcoming a mountain of obstacles was our determination to make it work. We just jumped in. We opened before we felt ready, something like having a first baby – the time comes for it to be born and you just have to wing it. Over time we have been learning what works and what doesn’t and we are still learning every day. In the summer of 2016 I took the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and came out with a blueprint for Casa Borrega that I am implementing.
Q: What is your big focus right now?
My big focus right now is to increase business by way of delivery services, catering, private parties and collaboration with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Q: What success have you had in the last year?
Business-wise we had record breaking Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day, and Day of the Dead events. We gained may more regulars and supporters and continued to earn media attention. Next month Casa Borrega will be featured in Garden and Gun Magazine. Personally, I’ve overcome cancer and have learned to work successfully with my ex-husband.