The Don Juans Story
late Don Chiavario opened Don Juans in 1966.
Don was living in California at the time that other Mexican fast
foods were just starting in that area.
He saw how popular that type of restaurant was becoming and soon
decided to open his own restaurant.
After scouting out several locations he decided on the Dallas
area. He chose Grand Prairie for many reasons.
One of which was the proximity to the aircraft plant with
thousands of hungry lunch customers and another was the availability of
a suitable building that he could remodel to suit his needs.
The building he found was a
System”. “The Griddle” was a popular diner in the fifties and
early sixties. Don designed
and even did most of the remodeling work to convert the building to Don
Juans. He opened the
business in September of 1966. Fast food was not very common in Grand
Prairie at that time and Mexican fast food was non existent!
Don Juans was probably one of the first restaurants in Grand
Prairie to have a drive-thru. Now
there are drive thru restaurants everywhere!
The business prospered and
grew but Don did not stay in one place very long, so back to California
he went. He had several
different managers operate the business for a few years but being an
absentee owner did not work out well.
In 1975 Don sold the restaurant to two employees, Jim Parker and Clyde Golden.
This partnership ran the restaurant for several years.
Eventually one of the partners bought out the other.
Jim Parker operated the restaurant until about 1989 when his
younger brother John took over the reins.
John has been operating the restaurant since then.
Jim and John both started working at Don Juans part time while
they were in high school.
The business has continued
to prosper and grow. Very
little has actually changed from the day Don Chiavario first opened the
business. The beans
and meat are still cooked fresh everyday.
Chili, burrito sauce, hot sauce, guacamole and almost everything
else is still made from scratch each day using the same recipes that Don
perfected back in 1966. Don
Juans has always tried to provide good food and service at reasonable
prices in a clean and pleasant atmosphere.
Don Juans is the second oldest restaurant in Grand Prairie! There is only one restaurant in Grand Prairie that has been in business at the same location longer than Don Juans!