Growing up learning the restaurant business from their father, Jose, it’s little surprise that Jorge Castro, his sister Betty and their younger brother, Edgar, would follow in his footsteps.
Jorge’s first restaurant was Guadalajara Grill & Cantina in Longview. After a rocky beginning, the Cantina soon became a great success, and this was followed by the opening of four additional restaurants in Clark County, including Jorge’s Tequila Factory in downtown Vancouver, Jorge’s Margarita Factory in Hazel Dell, The Cerveza Factory in Battle Ground, and Jorge’s Margarita Factory on Mill Plain.
While each of his restaurants continues to be successful, it is the Mill Plain location, managed by little brother Edgar, that has seen the most dramatic growth and success, especially in the last two years. Jorge attributes this to an amazing support staff, a tight-knit customer base, and to Edgar’s dedication to the restaurant during and after his battle with Cancer.
Edgar’s Health Issues Did Not Deter Him From His Passion
Edgar learned the ropes of managing a restaurant from his brother, and he and his mom have been running Jorge’s Margarita Factory on Mill Plain for 5 years. He was taken to the sidelines however when his diagnosis of cancer lead to four surgeries, three of them back-to-back.
Once Edgar was able to walk again, he dove back into work with more commitment and determination than ever before, and his love for his work propelled the restaurant to a new level of prosperity.
In addition to Edgar’s drive and passion, the brothers are quick to attribute the restaurant’s growth to their head bartenders, Raul and Chicho, who built a rapport with their customers and went above and beyond their duties, especially during Edgar’s treatment.
While Jorge’s other restaurants welcome regular customers who visit once or twice a month, the Mill Plain location has regulars that come every day or several times each week.
Says Jorge, “[Raul and Chicho] know everyone by name, their families, what’s going on in their lives…if they don’t know your name, they know what you drink…I want to express how much I appreciate those guys, how much they mean to us as a family, and how fortunate we are to have 75-80% regular customers.”
Restaurant Success Continues to Grow
Jorge is looking to move the Margarita factory to another location to support its growth, and has his sights on nearly doubling the square footage to accommodate their growing number of loyal customers.
He sees the future of the restaurants as a shared vision between Edgar and himself.
“Edgar helps out at my corporate office with growth and development, just pitching new ideas to continue to grow our concept. We want to be more than just the neighborhood family restaurant…we want to be able to expand and keep the family atmosphere.”
One of these new ideas is turning the Margarita Factory into a weekend Night Club. “Starting the 1st Saturday of December,” says Jorge, “We will have our first Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata dance night. After 9:30pm, we will offer VIP tables, a dance floor, bottle service, and a DJ. There is nothing like this in the community outside of Portland. This will be on the first Saturday of each month, and we eventually want to grow it to every weekend.”
What the Future Holds for the Castro Brothers
Fortunately, as of this December, Edgar will have been in remission for 2 years. He turned to homeopathic treatments, including acupuncture, CBD oil, and juicing along with the chemotherapy and surgeries to fight his four-year long battle with cancer.
Jorge credits the recovery to his brother’s indefatigable optimism: “There was not one time that [Edgar] spoke negatively…you’re down, you’re physically getting drained from the chemo but to be down mentally, not one time.”
Through Social Media, Edgar has reached out to other survivors, offering his support and trying to serve as a story of hope. He helps them locate local homeopathic resources within their communities to help them during their recoveries. Says Edgar, “I just want people to know how much of a blessing it was…I just enjoy life now and I want people to be inspired and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel for them.”
Since first going into remission two years ago, Edgar met his wife and was wed on October 11th, and recently purchased a new home. He believes Cancer provided him with a wonderful journey, and he feels that life now is better than ever before.
Says Edgar, “Although battling was by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done and hopefully will ever do, it taught me a lot and it brought the family closer together and brought our business to the next level.”
He continues, “I just want everyone to know this is a story of keeping faith…when you trust the process and keep going, even when stuff gets tough…and my faith is the number one thing I give credit to that keeps us going and keeps us thriving now.”
For authentic Mexican cuisine with a warm and friendly atmosphere, visit Jorge’s Margarita Factory at 14415 SE Mill Plain Blvd #110B Vancouver, WA 98684