Soft-spoken and unassuming, restaurateur Eva Sánchez enjoys sitting at a round table near the bar at her popular restaurant, The River Café, which she founded in the '80s. Originally from San Juan de Abajo, a small town in the municipality of Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit, she came to Puerto Vallarta in 1974 to attend junior college. “Back home, there was nothing but crop fields, and a trip to the beach, usually Bucerias, was a major production,” she recalls.
Upon graduating, she worked at a local government office, which allowed her to mingle with important personalities of the time, but she found her true calling when she began employment at Le Bistro restaurant. She began her practical training there as a restaurant manager, learning “from people that truly loved the industry and knew what they were doing.” She then worked with acclaimed restaurateur Thierry Blouet, before taking a chance on The River Café as her own venture. Although things were challenging at first, her perseverance has paid off, her eatery now one of the most iconic in town.
Nowadays, she shifts gears gracefully, overseeing the regional chapter of CANIRAC when she’s not at her restaurant. CANIRAC, Mexico’s restaurant chamber, comprises some two dozen offices throughout the country. Under her watch as recently elected president of the chapter, the organization strengthens the local restaurant industry by providing essential services to new and existing restaurateurs, from training and seminars on varied topics to support for government related licensing and permit requests. “Puerto Vallarta is an amazing destination with unbeatable climate and attractions, not to mention our spectacular gastronomy,” she comments. “It is up to the chamber to help restaurant owners provide the best possible product and service in an increasingly competitive field.”