A Taste of Home

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How Fidel Gomez is building his restaurant empire.

The saying “loving what you do” is an understatement for Fidel Gomez, co-owner of Little Hacienda. He started working as a dishwasher when he was 19 years old for a restaurant in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and already planned to open a business of his own. For the next five years, he learned the basics of operating a business while adopting English as his second language.

“I wanted to gain enough experience so I could eventually open up my own business,” Gomez says. “My background has always been in restaurants.” He emigrated from Mexico in search of better opportunities, and knowing he wanted to own a restaurant helped drive his passion into a success. He stayed in Fayetteville working various jobs and saving money before moving to Branson, where he had seen opportunities available years before. “I came here to take a vacation with my family and I saw the potential because there weren’t very many restaurants here at the time,” Gomez says.

His dream became a reality when he opened his first location of Little Hacienda with his brother. Now Gomez owns two locations of Little Hacienda along with two other restaurants, Grandma’s Café and Red Barn Café. “I always loved my job, no matter what I was doing, whether it was a dishwasher or a cook. I think to be successful you need to love what you do,” Gomez says.

Sitting on top of a hill overlooking Little Pete Road, Little Hacienda is a fine dining Mexican restaurant with a unique flair for authenticity and homemade food. The menu was developed by Gomez himself and uses the freshest ingredients for every dish, down to hand-squeezed juice for margaritas.

The newest location in Branson was built from the ground up and was inspired by Gomez and his team. All the artwork was done by his son or Colette Stresak, his assistant, and a wide expansive outdoor patio is usually full during the summer months.

Since Little Hacienda opened, Stresak has heard customers praise the food and the restaurant, and she believes this is a must-stop for delicious Mexican cuisine. “We hear a lot that this is not something you would expect to see in Branson,” Stresak says. “It far exceeds the expectations, meaning the quality of service, the menu items and the experience. People are just blown away that this is here.”