Perez Moves On But His Influence Remains

Perez and Sorrosa

Ricardo Sells

By Jim Rogers, Editor, The Winnsboro News

When Ricardo Perez opened Richie’s Grill & Cafe in 2006, he established rules and principles that would guide the future for employees and patrons. Perez said his foundation principles for his business interests are God and family. Now, Perez is stepping away from ownership of the local restaurant.
Perez wanted to sell the restaurant two years ago but he took it off the market when COVID changed the circumstances surrounding the business. When he was contacted by a buyer, he knew it was time. Susan Sorrosa is the business manager for what is now known as Hope Grill and Cafe. Sorrosa is taking on the new role because she “…did not want the business to go to someone who would not follow Ricardo’s rules and principles.” Perez and Sorrosa had prayed that any new owner would name Sorrosa as business manager. As the sale was being made, the new owner asked Sorrosa to run the business.

Perez grew up in a beautiful, coastal, tropical city in Mexico, according to Sorrosa. He said did not ask to be in a small town in a rural area but that is where God put him. He was not accustomed to farm or ranch life. He said his work on a dairy farm near Quitman with some friends peaked his interest in new things and was fun but not a career for him. He said the hourly wage and provided house gave him a “Taste of what he did not want.” He said when he came to Winnsboro, he found it “a different kind of town.”
Perez has had an impact on his employees. Freddi Scott began working for Perez and walked from Pickton to Winnsboro to work. Often with two small children in tow, she walked to the city to purchase food at the local grocery. Perez began by making sure Scott had transportation to work and home. He then enabled her to purchase a vehicle for travel. Serrano said the impact of Perez on her life is more than even she could imagine. She said the way he treated customers and staff changed her attitude toward life. Humility and the excellence of God have guided Perez’s life. Perez lives in Mineola and when he opened the restaurant, he often slept in the office due to time. When he purchased the restaurant, he would not let people smoke in the main seating area. One small room, next to his office, was designated for smoking. On one of the first mornings, he awoke to the sound of restaurant patrons crowded into the small room so they could smoke with their coffee. The room was so crowded he could not open the office door because of a chair against the door.The conversation of the patrons was not favorable to the new rule. He said he was afraid at first but that he prayed before trying to open the door. He had to knock on the door from the inside of his office and when the door was opened, a hush fell over the room.

He was not sure what to do but walked to the coffee pot and without a word began to fill the cups of those in the room. After all were filled, he asked if anyone wanted coffee. The conversation and respect for Perez changed that day. Perez said the experience in how to treat others in hard situations has shaped his vision for the future and aided him in teaching his three sons the principles of a Godly life. He said the experiences make you feel good and free you.

A plaque in the back room of the restaurant summarizes Perez’s vision, “Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith in God.” He said the true church is on you and who you are and how you love and treat others. He said, “God created you as you are and you can glorify Him.”

Perez will soon move on to other things but he plans to spend much of his time in prayer. He said, “God asks us to be humble. He is the King who came to earth to be our Savior. He humbled himself, so we are to be humble. He said God is the embodiment of excellence and we are to be excellent to glory Him.”