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Pictured left to right: Ralph Atencio, Jose Atencio, Dorothy Maestas & Jill Dixon
AUGUST 26, 2019
Chances are, if you have spent any time at all in Santa Fe or Espanola, you have eaten at El Parasol or El Paragua. If you haven’t, you should! These long-standing eateries are fixtures in their respective communities, representing local cuisine with authenticity charm. In fact, the founders of El Paragua/El Parasol, the Atencio family, have been part of the community for generations.
“El Paragua is the product of two ambitious youngsters, Larry and Pete, the oldest sons of Frances and Luis Atencio. In 1958, the two young boys set up a roadside stand on the corner of the historic Taos Highway and Santa Cruz Road, with the full intention of selling their Mama’s tacos and tamales,” according to the history of El Paragua.
The family is deeply philanthropic and believes in giving back to the very communities they were raised in. Just as the restaurants have continued to be a family affair, the Atencio legacy of giving carries on in the same fashion. Five years ago, the Atencio family contributed to the capital campaign that made The Food Depot’s new warehouse a reality.
This year, they returned with a $20,000 gift demonstrating their commitment to ending hunger in the communities they care about so deeply. “The community makes this gift possible,” says Ralph Atencio, “our family is happy to be able to help, to be able to give back.” Atencio recalls giving back to the community as a family tradition, a value instilled in every generation by those who came before.
Helen has worked for the Atencio’s for the past 50 years. She is inspired by the family’s work ethic and generosity. “They donate to EVERYTHING,” Helen says, going on to list a number of charitable events and organization the Atencio family supports. Their giving is deeply personal too; the family has been known to provide food for funerals and the families of those who have recently passed. Working in restaurants has always been a family affair, according to Helen. She admires that each member of the Atencio family has worked every job—beginning with bussing tables. “They work hard, they never hesitate to jump in and help when we are short-handed. They’re just one of us,” says Helen. The next generation is already getting familiar with the restaurant business according to Helen. You’ll find the little ones there, learning the ropes.
“I want every customer to know that our support of community organizations like The Food Depot happens because of them.”
– Ralph Atencio
THANK YOU, El Parasol, for all your contributions to this community! Your recent gift of $20,000 will provide 80,000 meals!!