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The Flavors Of Our Neighbors: San Francisco Kitchen In Nashua Is A Fusion Of Flavors And Cultures

San Francisco Kitchen 1
Esmeldy Angeles
/
First Gen Multimedia

Lina Gomez is the new Latina owner of San Francisco Kitchen, where she and her family have been dining for years. She is a first-generation American, born and raised in Nashua. Her parents came from Colombia in the 70s, and they were one of the first Latino families in the area.

Last year, Gomez found out that the owner of San Francisco Kitchen was selling, and after having a 10 year career in another field, she made the leap into entrepreneurship, taking her family along for the ride. San Francisco Kitchen is a California Asian style restaurant with fresh sushi served on beautiful plates.

First Gen American, from WSMN 1590 Nashua, interviewed Gomez in July. Watch that full interview below, or scroll to read some highlights.

First Gen American: What inspired you to jump into the restaurant business?

Lina Gomez: Well, my family has always loved going to San Francisco Kitchen over the years. My daughters have worked in the restaurant prior to me even owning the restaurant. We got very close to the owners and the original owner convinced me to do it. She did such an amazing job and she showed me everything I needed to know. I had a career of over 10 years but I wanted to do something of my own. I felt like it was time but I was also scared because I was leaving my stability but I wanted to do it.

First Gen American: You took over the restaurant right before the pandemic started, what was the pandemic like for you?

Lina Gomez: The community really supports us and we did well by transitioning to take out. My husband was so helpful where he would often do the deliveries for me when he got out of his own job. My partners and coworkers put their minds together to come up with new things for the menu such as ready-to-go teas, drink mixes, and Asian-style empanadas. We also raffle baskets or foods which helped make it fun for some of our customers.

First Gen American: When you bought the restaurant, why did you decide to keep the menu?

San Francisco Kitchen 2
Esmeldy Angeles

Lina Gomez: The menu is so good and I have always been fascinated with other cultures. I take learning about the Asian culture very seriously. I have managed to keep all of the original staff and menu of the restaurant and all of our cooks are from China and speak mostly Chinese. I have learned a little Chinese so that I can be able to communicate about the dishes and read our computer. We also celebrate all the major Chinese holidays and we welcome all of our families to celebrate with us. The Chinese cuisine is different and I wanted to try something different.”

First Gen American: What are some dishes that you enjoy the most on the menu?

Lina Gomez: I love this dish that is called “The 7 Dragons At The Fountain.” There is overflowing food and the presentation is just so impressive. I also love our sushi. We have some amazing cooks who go above and beyond to put a tasty and beautiful plate in front of you. We are starting to test some of our Colombian recipes for some fusion but we will see.

First Gen American: What does it mean to you to own a business on Main Street in Nashua and what you leave for your daughters?

Lina Gomez: I hope someday they might want to take over the restaurant. I feel such pride to be able to say I own a restaurant on Main Street, which is hard! Never give up and work smarter not harder. You just can’t give up on your dreams.

The Granite State News Collaborative is highlighting Latino restaurant owners who have found ways to innovate and adapt during the pandemic, and whose restaurants provide a sense of home for people, through food and connections with the folks who run it.

This project was developed through a collaboration between leaders of Latino communities in New Hampshire and media partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. The stories, audio and video for this project were reported and produced by Daniela Allee of NHPR; and, Jasmine Torres Allen, Oscar Villacis, Kevin Genao and Esmeldy Angeles of First Gen Multimedia.