Meet Daniel Ceballos, the co-owner of Taqueria Cantina in Seattle’s Belltown and Downtown neighborhoods. Daniel always dreamed of opening a restaurant, and after many years of hard work he achieved that dream with business partners Brian Brandell and Sal Munoz. The trio serve authentic Mexican fare and many different styles of delicious margaritas. 

Pro-tip: Check out their Sunday Funday Drag Brunches!

Get to know more about Daniel in this week’s business spotlight Q&A.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
I’m not just here to make a buck or two, but I’m here to provide homemade tastes and homemade meals. [My customers] know that if you come to my house, this is how I’m going to cook for you. And I think people should know that I put my heart into this. When I get customers here… and I approach their table they ask me, “What made you start this?” and “Tell me about your food.” When I mention that I put my heart into this and it’s more of a passion versus a job or a business they really find a better taste in the meal they’re consuming. It’s made with love. It’s made with care. And I personally try to focus a lot on trying to always have high quality ingredients, having great taste,  and not just that, but good food. Another thing that I always tell my customers… if there’s an issue, let us know. You know, we’re always willing to fix the issue if it’s not to your expectations.

What’s your favorite part about the Taqueria Cantina community and why?
The people make it worth it, because at the end of the day my passion is cooking. I love to cook, I’ve been doing this for many, many years. And what makes that great experience is seeing people have that first bite, that will tell you everything… But it’s the people. The people make the experience worth it, make challenges worth it. And not just that, but they bring life to, well, to life. If I didn’t have the people, I wouldn’t be able to excel and achieve and to continue to achieve success.

Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?
Small businesses [are part of] a scene where you cater to a lot of minority people. You get to meet a lot of minorities in your community, and I think supporting small businesses, not only allows [them] to help the minority of people, but it brings [minorities] the opportunity to know that we’re here for them. We’re standing out. And not just that — small businesses, you know, they come with a lot of challenges. One of the things I’ve noticed working in this industry… the type of people you get to hire is very diverse. You get to meet a lot of different types of people that want to be servers, want to be bartenders,  want to be managers, dishwashers, cooks. And you start to realize why they are coming…There’s a lot of people that don’t need jobs that are going to pay huge figures in order for them to be happy. Small businesses provide more of a calm lifestyle without having high pressures. You really get to help those that are more interested in working in a mom-and-pop shop versus working for a corporation.

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