After 20 years in Proctor, La Fondita Mexican Restaurant and Cantina is closing.
“It’s time for me retire,” said Wilfred “Willie” Ceria, who operated the family Mexican restaurant with his wife Lidia and their son.
The last day of business will be March 23.
Ceria has been contemplating retiring for some time. In recent years, he said he’s realized he and his wife need more time for their family and friends.
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After losing four friends this year, Ceria said it was time to leave while he’s young enough to enjoy retirement.
“It’s best to go when you can, not when you can’t,” he said.
He added, “I’m going to spend time with grandchildren, friends and travel and see what the world has to offer me.”
In addition to owning the business, Ceria also owns the building. He sold both to a buyer who intends to open a business in that space, he said. Details about that business will come soon.
Before moving to Proctor 20 years ago, Ceria operated La Fondita for about five years in Freighthouse Square in the space next to Wendy’s.
He recalls trying to get a loan to open his business and having a loan officer tell him, “I’m sorry, we can’t loan you money. You are the first businesses to close. You guys are a dime a dozen.”
After more than 25 years as a restaurant owner, he certainly proved that loan officer wrong.
Times were not always good. Ceria said the recession was extremely difficult for the business and family. He credited his loyal customers for saving him.
“My biggest thing I’d like to say to the public and to my community is that I want to thank them for supporting me through good and hard times,” said Ceria. He also said his hardworking staff deserve credit for keeping the restaurant going. “Without them, we are nothing,” he said.
Some of those staffers are currently looking for work.
The restaurant will be open regular hours serving the regular menu until the last day, March 23.
La Fondita Mexican Restaurant and Cantina
Where: 2620 N. Proctor St., Tacoma; 253-752-2878
Closing: March 23