DANILO MEJÍA, 40, restaurant owner
"It's everyone's dream to come to the United States and triumph. While we are seeking the American dream, we are lucky to be able to keep and share our culture, traditions and food."
When Danilo Mejía came to the Washington region from Honduras almost 20 years ago, he worked for several companies and restaurants, hoping that one day he could open his own business. In 2004, after working 14 years at a Mexican-Salvadoran restaurant in Wheaton, he made his dream come true. Mejía opened Pollo Fiesta, a small restaurant in Riverdale, an area of Prince George's County also known as Little Mexico. There he serves Peruvian-style chicken, the house specialty, but most of the menu is Mexican and Salvadoran. His clients are even more diverse than the food he offers, he says. "When I came here I didn't know much about other foods," Mejía says in Spanish. "Now we serve not what I grew up eating in my country, but what the people who live here like. And they seem to like food with a Latino touch."