The Ojeda Family 1970s
Ben Ojeda, born in 1911 in Lockhart, Texas, met Cecilia Ruiz born in 1921, in Shreveport, Louisiana at a Mexican restaurant. A few months later the in-love couple married. During this time, World War II was on, and Ben was stationed as a US Army cook for enlisted soldiers. The soldiers had a taste for his cooking and found out his food rations were enhanced with native peppers and veggies. Word spread of his tasty food and his cuisine was requested by even the higher ranks …
The First Ojeda’s Restaurant
When Ben returned home, he continued his cooking career by working in many kitchens of Dallas restaurants. Cecilia spent her time raising their kids, five girls and four boys. She would babysit four to six more kids to help ends meet.
Then in 1969, after much hard work and a little bit of savings, Ben and Cecilia leased the Peter Pan Grill on the corner of Maple Avenue and Lucas Street in Dallas and renamed it Ojeda’s Mexican Restaurant. Lee Clark, a reporter with local Channel 13 news, found the family restaurant to be an interesting story. She wrote a story in 1971 on the likeable Mom and Pop business featuring their 9 children, and, with that, Ojeda’s was off and running!
With its reputation for tasty Mexican food and atmosphere of home, many famous people have ventured into Ojeda’s. The list includes Jack Nicholson, The Dallas Cowboys, Johnny Mathis, Doc Severnson, and, most recently, Dr. Phil and President Bill Clinton. Today, Mama Ojeda (Cecelia), the 9 brothers & sisters and 14 nephews & nieces continue to run Ojeda’s which has expanded with three more restaurants. Papa Ojeda (Ben) died in 1989 and Mama Ojeda (Cecelia) in 2011, but their legacy lives on through their family and Ojeda’s patrons.