It’s an honor only 121 other Texas restaurant owners have ever been awarded – the Texas Restaurant Association’s Legendary Hall of Honor. Now, L&J Cafe’s Leo A. Duran Sr., will be among the ranks to receive the highest award the association can bestow.
Duran will be inducted into the Hall of Honor on Saturday, July 14 in San Antonio, Texas at the TRA’s Night of Excellence event, held in conjunction with the second-largest foodservice industry show in the country.
“Induction into the Hall of Honor is the highest award we can give to publicly recognize those who have been outstanding leaders, successful business people and a true beacon to others,” said Richie Jackson, CEO of TRA. “For decades, Leo Duran has worked to help his colleagues succeed and elevate the entire industry. It’s to his credit that so many restaurateurs consider him a mentor and friend. We couldn’t be more proud to honor him.”
In order to qualify for the prestigious award, nominees must have a minimum of 15 years of TRA membership and exemplify superior business ethics.
L&J Cafe was honored this past April as the best Tex-Mex Restaurant in Texas according to USA Today. Mayor Dee Margo and City Council also issued a Proclamation declaring May 29, 2018 as L&J Cafe Day.”
Duran has been an active member of the El Paso Restaurant Association where he served as president for four terms and is currently a local board director. He has also been a member of the TRA for nearly 26 years.
“To be recognized by so many people whom I have worked alongside, respected and admired throughout the years, is an incredible feeling,” Duran says. “It is a true honor, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be included. I’ve always felt that wealth in knowledge comes from not only having it – but also from sharing it, as so many others have done with me.”
In addition to L&J’s, Duran is also a member of the Upper Rio Grande Workforce Development Board, an active member of the Elk’s Lodge 187, the El Paso Sheriff’s Advisory Committee and president and founding member of the El Paso Sheriff’s Foundation and a member of the El Paso Sheriff’s Training Committee.
L&J’s, also referred to as the ‘Old Place by the Graveyard’, has been family owned and operated for four generations. Originally known as “Tony’s Place,” the restaurant was opened in 1927 and later renamed to L&J Cafe in 1968 after Lilia and John G.Duran.
Leo Duran took over in 1987 after the death of his father, John. The family legacy lives on today, as Leo’s daughter, Vanessa, handles the day-to-day business at the legendary restaurant.