Business Profile

Posted: Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Title and firm: Alex Orozco, owner of Fernando's Restaurant.

Services: The Mexican restaurant has 60 seats and offers take-out service. It doesn't deliver.

Biographical information: Orozco's parents, Fernando and Lourdes, opened the first Fernando's downtown in 1974 where El Sombrero is now located.

They moved to the Mendenhall Valley in 1980 when the family built the Travelodge Hotel. The town location was sold to Lourdes' older sister.

Orozco, 33, was 15 when he received his first paycheck from the restaurant.

Poor health forced Fernando Orozco, the restaurant's namesake, to retire in 1993, closing the restaurant bearing his name. The valley location reopened under different management and a new name.

"I inherited the name and recipes from my parents in 1994," he said.

Alex Orozco said after the valley Fernando's closed, he intended to reopen the restaurant at some time in the future to continue the family tradition. The opportunity came along to move into the Franklin Street location and sped up his plans. After about six months without a Fernando's, Orozco opened the current version of the restaurant on North Franklin Street.

The menu now is much the same as it was in the 1970s. Orozco said he hasn't changed anything on the menu since his parents owned it.

Orozco said he would like to move the restaurant to another location that serves more of a local clientele, possibly in the valley.

Family: Father Fernando, 74, mother Lourdes, 60, and sister Vicky, 27.

Notable: Orozco is an outdoor enthusiast, but being married to the restaurant leaves little time for fun. He said he works 12 to 16 hours a day, six days a week with only Sundays off. That leaves little time to hunt, bike, snowboard or ice climb.

Orozco has his mountain bike stashed at work for quick jaunts up downtown trails after work.

"It's the only way I can stay fit," he said.

The last time he went snowboarding was 1996, he said. He's a little luckier with ice climbing. The recent cold spell allowed him to get a little climbing time in at the Nugget Creek Falls by the Mendenhall Glacier.

Quotable: "Between bad weather and working, what is a guy to do," he said of why he hasn't gone snowboarding in four years.

Employees: Six, including Orozco, his mother and sister.

Contact: 116 N. Franklin St., 463-3992.

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