Quad Citizen: Joe Gomez

Quad Citizen: Joe Gomez

Business Owner, Taco Master, Eastern Iowa Community College Graduate

Quad Citizen Profile

Joe Gomez has come a long way to become co-owner of Los Primos, a Mexican restaurant on Locust Street in Davenport. But it happened with help from Eastern Iowa Community Colleges.

Gomez tells the story of how he quit high school in the 10th grade, got into trouble and ended up going to prison. He says he knew he had to do something to change direction, so he got a job in prison’s kitchen because that's what he really loved to do. He figured if he loved what he was doing it would be a lot harder to get into trouble when he was released. While he was incarcerated, he finished his GED.

After he was out, Brad Scott at EICC helped him get a job at the airport washing dishes and doing more kitchen work: cutting meat, doing food prep, etc. Joe went to EICC and graduated, working in the food service industry, including stints at Red Crow and Five, but opportunity came knocking, and he thought maybe he should pursue welding as a career.

Although Joe eventually got a welding certificate at Black Hawk and went to work at Arsenal Island, he realized that he wanted to get back into the restaurant business.  So he resigned, and, along with his cousin Esteban, opened Los Primos in 2013. Now he says he gets up every day happy that he loves what he does, cooking for customers. “I like to see people enjoying my food, enjoying what I just made for them.”

He modestly says about his restaurant, “We've done pretty well.” You might also see Joe and his cousin out on the road in their Los Primos food truck as well. While some might think there are a lot of Mexican restaurants here, Gomez disagrees. “There are a lot of variations in the flavors of food served at the competition and they are all a little different.”

Gomez says he and his wife, Michelle, whom he met while working at the Arsenal, have a large family of 8, and they are a significant reason he's staying in the Quad Cities. “I have lived here my whole life and never thought of moving,” he said. He likes the pace of the QC, and says that outside of work,  he really enjoys cooking for his kids and enjoying his small circle of friends.

Joe thinks local colleges do a good job with apprenticeships and other kinds of trade education. “Some people aren't as good in the classroom as they are with hands-on training,”he said. “There should be different kinds of education to offer to the different kinds of people we have here.”

While he loves to fish and golf (he says he's slowly improving in the 3 years he's been playing), he is a very contented man and is doing what he is supposed to do. “I wouldn't change my life. I'm happier now that I've ever been.”

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Market inside La Finca
Spice rack at La Finca
Fresh Vegetables at La Finca
Mexican Soda at La Finca
Cashiers at La Finca