Maria Mentiras Bar & Grill, LLC
328 32nd Street
Union City, NJ 07087
Maria Gutierrez arrived in New Jersey as a teen from Medelin, Colombia. She and her family were in search of op- portunity and the American Dream. Her ambition and desire for success formed at age 17, when she opened her first clothing store. Sixteen-hour workdays and two-hour bus rides became a normal routine. Long days and expensive business lessons were met with even more drive and the discipline to continue moving forward.
In 2011, Ms. Gutierrez wanted to grow her clothing business and sought the assistance of the NJSBDC at New Jersey City University. Business consultant Ryan Silvestre advised Maria on her business structure, organizational skills, time management and financial arrangements. This extra insight into her entrepreneurial efforts led to conversations about expanding and possibly purchasing a new business. With help from the NJSBDC on valuation modeling and due diligence, a decision on building a new business was made. With proper planning, and a creative debt structure, Ms. Gutierrez was able to secure the capital needed to open Maria Mentiras Bar and Grill, LLC.
Now one of Hudson County’s premier restaurants, Maria Mentiras, as the regulars endearingly call it, provides Latin fusion dishes, along with unique specialty cocktails and live music. A staple of Union City, New Jersey, Mentiras Bar
& Grill draws a local crowd as well as patrons from many of the neighboring cities.
Since opening, Ms. Gutierrez has been able to create over 20 restaurant jobs, in addition to internship opportunities. Most recently, Ms. Gutierrez and the NJSBDC at NJCU have worked on a marketing and social media plan utilizing another SBDC client to assist her in its execution. NJSBDC at NJCU also assisted Maria Mentiras, LLC in upgrading from its paper method of bookkeeping to QuickBooks online. The results were greater efficiencies in time and cash flow management, which allowed her to capitalize on new business opportunities. Traditional approaches of bankability made it impossible for her to secure a commercial mortgage; however, with these interim financials, she was able to structure a private mortgage for the acquisition of two buildings for $1.2 million, and the purchase of the buildings housing her restaurant.
In addition to the success of Maria Mentiras Bar & Grill, Ms. Gutierrez continues to grow her clothing store and multiple other businesses. Her newest venture is a gourmet fast food business with franchise potential. Salsa Arepa is scheduled to open later this year at the very exclusive Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, following completion of a $250,000 construction project. This truly long-term client has collectively created over 40-plus jobs and facilitated over $2 million in capital infusion invested in her businesses. The NJSBDC at NJCU will continue to pro- vide support and guidance as the Center assists her in developing strategic plans concerning business sustainability and expansion.