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In the beginning, trucks would park lined up on both sides of South Santa Fe Drive in the morning to come to the family's coffee shop for breakfast burritos and coffee.
Now, after a relocation, a name change and more restaurants opening, the legacy of 4G's Mexican Restaurant is still going strong in its new spot on South Broadway just a few blocks south of U.S. 285. The co-owners, other family, city officials and everyday diners came together for a ribbon-cutting event April 12 for the one-year anniversary celebration of the Englewood location.
But the Gonzalez family's roots in Englewood go all the way back to 1973, when Juan and Ofelia Gonzalez — who migrated from Guadalajara, Mexico in 1968 — began running the 4C's coffee shop near South Santa Fe Drive and West Hampden Avenue.
“We all knew each other,” said Veronica Gonzalez Ortiz, one of Juan's children who has been a waitress for 4G's for 30 years. It was “a little family” of frequent customers, she added.
In 1994, the restaurant had to relocate due to road expansion in the area, and the family changed the name to 4G's — a dedication to their four children and a salute to their last name — and at their new location near South Federal Boulevard and West Yale Avenue, they carried on, building a dynasty that has endured for decades. That location, one in the Littleton area at 5950 S. Platte Canyon Road and the Englewood location at 3866 S. Broadway are open, Gonzalez Ortiz said. 4G's has seen more locations in the metro area through the years, too, and the children, now grown, head the restaurants.
Gonzalez Ortiz's favorite part of the restaurants is the customers, who have proven to be deeply loyal.
“They all knew us. They knew me since I was 5 years old,” said Gonzalez Ortiz, 48. They acted like family, she added.
Since opening in Englewood, that bond has only been reinforced.
“All our customers follow us — that's the best part for us,” Gonzalez Ortiz said. “They know our food (and) our service.”
Englewood Mayor Pro Tem Rita Russell, City Councilmember Laurett Barrentine and former Mayor Randy Penn attended the anniversary event — Russell cut the ribbon, with the family making some cuts, too.
“It's just awesome they're here” in Englewood, Barrentine said. “And to have history like they do?”
Russell made remarks in front of the crowd of restaurant-goers and family before the ribbon-cutting.
“I just want to thank them for coming back to Englewood,” Russell said. They “started out with a coffee shop before Hampden was a two-way street.”
Now, they're sure to see customers coming up that road from both directions to get a taste of the food — and the history.
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