October 1, 2021
PHOTO – Dr Ralph L. Padilla, owner of the West Haven Animal Clinic at 959 Campbell Ave., holds Gizmo, a Persian cat, with Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, center, and Mayor Nancy R. Rossi during their West Haven Hispanic Business tour on Friday October 1. Bysiewicz and Rossi also visited the Budget Transmission Center at 950 Boston Post Road and La Catrina Restaurant and Cantina at 240 Captain Thomas Blvd. (City Photo / Michael P. Walsh)
WEST HAVEN, October 1, 2021 – In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Mayor Nancy R. Rossi visited three Hispanic businesses in West Haven on Friday, October 1.
Bysiewicz and Rossi, who were joined by Executive Assistant Louis P. Esposito Jr. and City Clerk Patricia C. Horvath, visited the West Haven Animal Clinic at 959 Campbell Ave., the Budget Transmission Center at 950 Boston Post Road and La Catrina Restaurant and Cantina at 240, boulevard Capitaine Thomas.
As small businesses were in full swing, state and city leaders chatted with animal clinic owner Dr Ralph L. Padilla, Budget Transmission owner Sammy Rivera, who also owns Budget Car Wash. at 936 Boston Post Road, and the co-owners of La Catrina. Nicolas Altamirano Escobedo and Karen Sanchez Benitez.
Bysiewicz and Rossi received an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of each company and spoke with owners about surviving the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of small businesses in Connecticut, and how they are driving economic growth across the board. state, including West Haven.
Padilla, who has practiced veterinary medicine since 1981 and has owned the clinic since 1985, said he was proud of his Puerto Rican heritage and profession by giving as much as he received.
With the door to his office draped in the Puerto Rican flag in sight, Padilla pulled up with Eleanor, a Rottweiler dog; Gizmo, a Persian cat; and Buddy, a cockatoo parrot.
Rossi said that Padilla’s pro bono services at the West Haven Animal Shelter include the prevention and treatment of disease and injury in animals, both domestic and wild.
New York-born Padilla, who traces her paternal line to Naranjito, Puerto Rico, was the first recipient of West Haven’s Hispanic American of the Year award at the first celebration of Hispanic heritage in 2018.
Rossi and the West Haven Hispanic Heritage Committee annually present the award to a Hispanic resident who personifies service to the city’s thriving Hispanic community.
Rivera, the 2021 Hispanic American of the Year, became the third recipient of the award on September 24. Last year’s ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19.
On Route 1 in Allingtown, Rivera showed Bysiewicz and Rossi his bustling auto repair shop, established in 2005. Greeting each of its nine full-time employees, Rivera pointed out that his booming business includes his contactless car. of 4 years. wash next door, a 24-hour operation with four employees.
Rivera was born in Cayey, a mountain town and municipality in central Puerto Rico, and moved to the Fair Haven neighborhood of New Haven with his mother and brother in 1981 at the age of 4. He moved to West Haven when he purchased Budget Transmission in 2005.
Civic-minded Rivera, who grew up “very poor,” said he was grateful to the people who had helped him in his business career and believed in the need to pay it forward.
“The American dream is to have a lot of employees and to take care of them – and them, to take care of me and my customers,” Rivera said.
Rossi said Rivera’s good works include donating toys amid the pandemic to the Three Kings Day celebration in January and supporting hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
Bysiewicz and Rossi made their final stop at La Catrina, where the owners opened the tour by thanking Rossi for cutting the ribbon at the Mexican restaurant’s opening on February 24.
Altamirano Escobedo said that La Catrina serves the taste of Mexico, specializing in authentic dishes such as tacos, burritos, tortas, quesadillas and enchiladas made from his mother’s age-old recipes, as well as savory dishes. of fish, chicken, steak and pork. The fusion of traditional Mexican cuisine is complemented by creative concoctions of citrus-flavored margaritas and other tangy cocktails.
Altamirano Escobedo and Sanchez Benitez, who are originally from Puebla, Mexico, and now live together in Hamden, chose the location of West Haven, located in the Savin Rock Plaza near the beach, because they “love the city “.
Accented by the vivid hues of the owners’ native Mexico, the refurbished restaurant and bar, open daily for lunch and dinner, is decorated with Spanish furniture, trinkets, and murals.
The striking theme of La Catrina is “Dia de los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead,” the popular Mexican holiday that commemorates loved ones who have passed away.
“La Catrina”, a female skeleton wearing a feathered hat, is the referential image of death in Mexico and the symbol of Dia de los Muertos, observed on November 1 and 2.
In homage to Mexican culture and people, the restaurant’s festive and spacious dining room and bar are brought to life by bright pink and yellow stucco walls that feature Day of the Dead-themed murals with skeleton faces. painted by West Haven artist, Cruz Manuel.
Like Padilla and Rivera, the owners of La Catrina are committed to supporting their vibrant community and carrying on the proud traditions of Mexico.
West Haven’s diversity is its strength, Rossi said, adding that the owners of the four companies are a testament to America’s promise and greatness.
In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through October 15, West Haven recognizes the important heritage of Hispanic Americans and the inspiring contributions they have made to the culture and history of states -United.
Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on America’s civic and cultural life, enhancing and shaping national character with age-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Hispanic Heritage Month, which dates back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence days during this period.
– MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator
Dr Ralph L. Padilla, owner of the West Haven Animal Clinic at 959 Campbell Ave., holds Gizmo, a Persian cat, with Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, center, and Mayor Nancy R. Rossi during their visit to Hispanic- owned businesses in West Haven on Friday October 1. Bysiewicz and Rossi also visited the Budget Transmission Center at 950 Boston Post Road and La Catrina Restaurant and Cantina at 240 Captain Thomas Blvd. (City Photo / Michael P. Walsh)
Bysiewicz and Rossi pose with Buddy, a cockatoo, at the West Haven Animal Clinic. (City Photo / Michael P. Walsh)
Rossi presents Bysiewicz with an ornate West Haven Centennial Tote Bag containing the new Centennial Book, “City of West Haven: Village to Town,” as well as a Centennial Coin, Pin and Sticker. City Clerk Patricia C. Horvath and Executive Assistant to Mayor Louis P. Esposito Jr. (City Photo / Michael P. Walsh)
Budget Transmission Center owner Sammy Rivera, center, is joined outside his auto repair shop at 950 Boston Post Road by, left to right, City Clerk Patricia C. Horvath, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Executive Assistant to Mayor Louis P. Esposito Jr. Rivera also owns Budget Car Wash at 936 Boston Post Road. (City Photo / Michael P. Walsh)
Rossi laughs as Bysiewicz jokes with Rivera in his office. (City Photo / Michael P. Walsh)
Rivera is joined by her 23-year-old son Nicholas Rivera and Bysiewicz, Rossi and Esposito. (City Photo / Michael P. Walsh)
La Catrina restaurant and Cantina co-owners, Nicolas Altamirano Escobedo and Karen Sanchez Benitez, center, gather in front of their Mexican restaurant at 240 Captain Thomas Blvd. By, from left to right, Executive Assistant to Mayor Louis P. Esposito Jr., Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and City Clerk Patricia C. Horvath. (City Photo / Michael P. Walsh)
Altamirano Escobedo takes a break with Rossi and Bysiewicz in the bar of La Catrina. The bar and dining room feature ‘Day of the Dead’ themed murals with skeleton faces painted by West Haven artist Cruz Manuel. The popular Mexican holiday celebrates deceased loved ones. (City Photo / Michael P. Walsh)
This press release was produced by the City of West Haven. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.