How A Woman Runs a Mexican Restaurant In Geneva

by | Feb 22, 2020 | Fempreneurship, Interviews | 0 comments

Gabriella Castellanos runs a Mexican restaurant in Geneva keeping her homeland close to her heart. The warm and festive atmosphere of her restaurant, El Catrin, is widely discussed by TripAdvisor users. We had a chat with this fempreneur about her vision of success, the Mexican community and imports of products.

SUISSEPIC: Tell us a few words about your personal journey to Switzerland? 

Gabriella Castellanos: I came to Geneva after my husband swept me off my feet and brought me here. I had visited Geneva once before and speak French fluently having studied and worked in France & Monte Carlo.

SUISSEPIC: Where are you based?


Photo: Gabriella Castellanos

SUISSEPIC: Where did you get the idea of opening a restaurant?

Gabriella: I had developed many ideas and projects around opening a French bakery in Oaxaca but those were interrupted when one of my students at the Academia I was managing rather easily convinced of me opening a Mexican restaurant in Geneva. That student later became my husband.

SUISSEPIC: Is it difficult to find specific Mexican products in Geneva?

Gabriella: It is not too difficult, as we say in Mexico “El que busca, encuentra” which means “the one who searches, finds”. Making connections with suppliers always came easy to me and I have a fantastic network of Swiss, European and Transatlantic network of suppliers.

SUISSEPIC: What are your best dishes that everyone should try in the restaurant?

Gabriella: Definitely our range of Tacos. We have a great selection of plant based, meat and fish tacos, all classics and representing different regions of Mexico. Our Enmoladas are huge hit right now and our Enchiladas are a steady classic.

Photo: Gabriella Castellanos

SUISSEPIC: Tell us a few words about the Mexican community? Is it big/ friendly?

Gabriella: In contrast to other Latino communities, I would say the Mexican one is comparatively smaller, it is super friendly and Mexican people are great people, loyal and joyful.

SUISSEPIC: Any special places for expats to meet Mexicans in Geneva?

Gabriella: At El Catrín of course! We celebrate all the Mexican festivities and organize special menus and parties for them. The restaurant is full of Mexican people on a daily basis and are especially in attendance during our celebrations. Anyone who wants to discover our culture and food, meet Mexican people should make a reservation at El Catrin immediately!

SUISSEPIC: As a businesswoman how do you develop and set up goals?

Gabriella: I set my goals by challenging myself and my ideas to provide the best of my countries food and culture in a foreign land daily. Anything that is outside of that lane, I just don’t have time for. I develop these goals by keeping my homeland close to my heart, surrounding myself with people who share the same vision and determination, and asking myself what do I expect from my services if I were the customer.

Photo: Gabriella Castellanos

SUISSEPIC: As a businesswoman what do you think of success? What is success for you?

Gabriella: Success for me is building the El Catrin community, from our customers to our staff and our families. It is providing opportunities for those around me and I. Success is hustling everyday, is failing everyday, to make your vision come true, sacrificing a lot and working hard for it to happen.

SUISSEPIC: What is the geography of the business?

Gabriella: The Restaurant El Catrín and our Tiendita (shop) is located in the Pâquis neighborhood, not far from Cornavin Train station and just a few steps from the Môle Tram stop.

SUISSEPIC: What is your favorite Swiss city and why?

Gabriella: Geneva is in my heart without a doubt, thanks to this city that welcomed me I built my business and family. I am proud to be Genèvoise.