Moctezuma’s Named Family-Owned Small Business of the Year

Raise your glass — or a shot of tequila — to Moctezuma’s Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar. The local restaurant chain — which has locations in Tukwila, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, and Silverdale — has been named the 2017 Seattle District Family-Owned Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

For nearly 40 years, Moctezuma’s has been passed through the generations, offering award-winning dining recognized by King 5 Evening Magazine’s “Best of” for three years running and South Sound Magazine’s “Best Mexican” restaurant for the past four years. And the restaurant recently was voted No. 5 out of the top 25 best Mexican restaurants in the U.S. by MSN Food & Drink.

In the past couple years, business has been booming. The restaurant has expanded to four locations with plans to open a fifth, it projects $20 million in sales for 2017, and currently employs nearly 400 staff. Moctezuma’s was founded in 1978 by Arturo Garcia. It’s now jointly owned by Arturo, Bernie Garcia, and Bernie’s mother and sister, Magdalena Garcia and Maribel Arias. Bernie Garcia took over as president in 2005.

“We were really excited to hear we were nominated for and then won this award,” Bernie Garcia said. “The company really is where it is today because of my whole family, and it’s always an honor for the family to be recognized for everything we have done. We are really proud of what we have built.”

The Small Business Administration Family-Owned Small Business of the Year award recognizes a family-owned and operated business that has been passed from one generation to another for at least 15 years. As part of the award criteria, the company must demonstrate a history of success with growth in sales and profits, increased employment opportunities for family members, and demonstrate volunteer efforts that strengthen family-owned businesses in the community.

“Family-owned businesses are an important aspect of the small business world,” said Small Business Administration Seattle District Director Kerrie Hurd. “Not only do you have this fantastic story about a man who started his business in 1978 and became very successful, but now his son has taken over and continues to build upon that success. Throughout the last 30 years this family has worked together to create not just a business, but a family legacy.”

The award was announced in conjunction with National Small Business Week, which ended May 6. With more than 100 different tequilas at the bar, there are lots of ways you can help Moctezuma’s celebrate.

is an assistant editor at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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