SELMA – If Sal Salazar were alive today he would have enjoyed the food, music and dancing that marked the 75th anniversary of his decision to open a Mexican restaurant.
Between the hugs, good food, shared memories, mariachis, folklorico dancers and children’s activities taking place, Skelton Street next door to Sal’s Mexican Restaurant looked more like a family reunion than a business anniversary. But to descendants of Sal Salazar, that’s exactly what they wanted to mark the occasion.
“My mom and dad and my grandparents are with us in spirit today. I feel them and know that they’re very proud of what Karl and I and our children, Aaron, Sal and Roman are continuing,” Lorraine Salazar said.
Among family members there to celebrate were Sal’s siblings, Lupe Vargas, Raul Salazar and Sara Escobar, and his children and grandchildren. It’s his son and daughter, Lorraine and Karl, that primarily run the restaurants and they are now starting to pass the torch on to the next generation.
“I told [my nephew Sal] he’s going to be responsible for planning the next celebration. So, God willing, we make it to 100 years. And if we do, I will be in the second year of my eighth decade. God willing, I hope to be here to celebrate that.”
Lorraine Salazar recalled how her mother, Eleanor, told them they didn’t have to continue in the restaurant business if they didn’t have a passion for it. And while they’re typically busy just running the restaurants that include three locations now, the day gave them a chance to pause and reflect on what the establishment meant to the entire community, she said.
“We think we just put our heads down and do what we do every day. We don’t think about what it’s meant in the past and the whole large picture, but today is an example of what the large picture looks like,” Lorraine said. “It’s so surreal. To think we’ve been in business and our family’s been here for 75 years. We carry on this legacy. We’re stewards of this business. But to be part of this community and have them support us and for us to support the community is really wonderful. Reaching 75 years is such a milestone.”
The event included a street faire for families and included local nonprofits such as the Boys and Girls Club, the Selma High Band and Parents Club, the Selma Aqua Bears, the S.M.A.R.T. Center, Reading and Beyond and PBS.
Entertainment included Trio Sensacion, Mariachi De La Tierra and local dancers with the Centro de Folkor who performed a number of dances from regions throughout Mexico.
Aly Verduzco was one of the dancers that day and said “It feels good” to dance for the audience that packed the street.
“These are all wonderful organizations we’ve supported and they’ve come out today to support us and give back to the community,” Lorraine said.