It all started on the corner of 21st and Q Street. La Costa Mariscos opened 25 years ago in a small storefront. Now they are in a new, bigger location at the ice house an are on their way to opening a second one.
The family did not believe their life would look the way it does now. Maria Coward, owner and matriarch of La Costa, wanted a better life for her four children. She worked long days and hours to create the empire we see today.
"During the holidays we struggled, didn’t have presents. My mom always worked. I would have never expected us to be where we are now," said one of the daughters Adriana.
This small family-run business is now turning into a massive operation with Maria now on her way to opening a second rlocation of La Costa.
But this didn't come easy. The story begins with a hopeful 25-year-old from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico who left her kids behind looking for a better life for her family.
“1977. I can't forget that date. I moved here with nothing. You leave your kids, are alone, and cry every night," said Maria.
After the initial move, Maria brought her two oldest children, Larissa and Alex, to the U.S., which was the beginning of the rest of her life.
This is when Maria decided to work for herself and open the first La Costa Mariscos in 1992. When she bought it, she says the name was already there, reminiscent of her hometown on the beach. "When we first opened, it was very hard in the beginning," Maria remembered.
Her daughter Adriana said that Maria used to live in her car and even in a closet. But when asked if Maria thought she was strong, Maria responded, "No, I would not say I'm strong."
Adriana said she was just doing what she needed to do for her kids. Using this as a driving force, Maria created an empire from one small store, to not one, but two massive restaurants serving hundreds maybe even thousands a week. All this to give her children a better life.
"I wanted a place where my family can work and not have to knock on doors to get jobs," said Maria.
Now all four of her kids, Larissa, Alex, and the two born later in the U.S., Adriana and Chelsie, are all carrying on the family business. From the oldest to the youngest, they all play a role in the success of La Costa.
The youngest was actually almost born right in the first restaurant on 21st street.
"I was working and my water broke. I kept working, and Alex said, mom go to the hospital and I said, no I have to finish working," said Maria.
This is the dedication that Maria gives her restaurant which allowed them to open the large location at the ice house and now a second one.
“I’m just so proud of the work, the work ethic shes taught us and hopefully I can teach that to the next generation. I respect her so much," says her oldest daughter Larissa.
Adriana agrees and says, “There is nothing that we would do, or wouldn't do, to protect her and take care of her. Whatever it is she wants, we will do it.”
The family does it all for the matriarch who they say is the rock and the glue holding the family and La Costa together. They all still remain humble even after all of their successes.
"I'm not a success story. I'm just a mom," says Maria.
The second location of La Costa Mariscos will open at the old Elephant Bar on the corner of Stockdale and Calloway at some point during February/March of 2018.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of "A Very La Costa Christmas" where we will get a look at the menu and even a new item only offered at the second location.