Fernando Lopez owns El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant and GDL Motors in Columbus, Nebraska. In February, he was named the Center for Rural Affairs’ “Entrepreneur of the Year.”
Fernando began working at El Tapatio in 1995 with his wife Teresa. When El Tapatio’s owner died in 1997, the Lopez’s moved to Fremont, Nebraska. El Tapatio changed management a couple of times before Lopez was offered full ownership in late 1999. When the couple arrived to see what they were getting into, they found the restaurant in shambles.