by David J. Santistevan Jr.
TRINIDAD — Recently Jay Gonzales, who owns the Las Animas Grill in Trinidad, spoke to the Trinidad Rotary Club. He explained that he found his passion for food and the food industry in the town he grew up in: a small blue-collar factory town called Holland in western Michigan. After working across the county, Martinez told the Rotarians that 11 years ago he found himself in Denver, Colorado. He immediately fell in love with Denver and all that Colorado had to offer, including managing restaurants.
“Legacy is very important to me. I want my children and grandchildren to think of me a hard worker, who helped the community and paved the road to success for them to follow.” Gonzales said at the Rotary lunch. “I want the groundwork to be there for generations for our family, our business and our family legacy. My family is very very important to me.”
Gonzales, who moved to Trinidad one year ago and bought the Las Animas Grill (formally What’A Grind owned by Buzz Sawaya), told the club members about the value of buying local and knowing that your meat, eggs, milk, fruits, vegetables, and other foods were made or grown here in the Trinidad & Las Animas County area. “We need to support and buy local, even if it costs a little more. Every dollar locally counts and help out our neighbors. That’s something our little locally owned business takes a lot of pride in. The value of where your food comes from has been lost, and our business is trying to bring that back a little bit at a time.”
Sawaya, who brought in Gonzales as the guest speaker, added, “I’ve seen first hand Jay’s hard work to build a business, his dedication and how he has embraced our community. I see good things coming from some of his ideas with business, music, art, and community.”
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Gonzales ended by Thanking the Rotary Club of Trinidad, “Staying local is very import to us, I want locals and travelers who come by the Las Animas Grill to say I had farm fresh eggs, or some good steak that was grown locally. I want to thank the Rotary Club for its support and the opportunity to tell our story.”