Restaurant owner has made family his business


Meridith Mulkey

A Hispanic man started his own business in 1991 to be with his wife and three sons after a young boy was fatally shot in his community of Duncan, Oklahoma.

Jesse Galvan had been traveling for his construction job, and had received other job offers that required travel, but did not want to be away from his family again after the shooting.

He opened his own restaurant, La Fortuna, in just 36 days after quitting his construction job. He worked 18-20 hours per day, and opened the restaurant Dec. 7, 1991.

“Money is not everything,” said Galvan. “I must come home and see my kids grow up.”

La Fortuna started in a small building with a cardboard box for a sign, selling Mexican imports and barbeque. After a few months of being open and not selling much of the Mexican imports, Galvan decided to stick with barbeque and the occasional Mexican dish.

Some of the ways Galvan and his family have made the business work for 27 years has included branching into catering and moving into a new building. Galvan purchased the new building for La Fortuna in 1994 and later the entire property in 2006.

“I don’t regret it,” said Galvan. “I’d rather stay here with my family. Stay broke, but stay with my family.”

Jesse Galvan showing off the first real sign he had for his restaurant, La Fortuna, that he received in 1991 from Bill Crowdis, the owner of Jones Monument Company in Duncan, Oklahoma.