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As a Young 17 year old emigrant, Don Colón went to the United States in search of the American Dream. He got involved with food at the age of 18, with his first experience at the Showboat Inn located in Greenwich, Connecticut.
There, he served as a waiter, bartender and maître d’. Colón moved on to work at the Yatch Haven Marina, where he had the pleasure of meeting and serving Frank Sinatra, Walter Cronkite and other famous people.
Colón then moved south to Marco Island, Florida and worked for the Marriott Hotel as a room service manager, banquet assistant manager and general cook. He took his first plunge on his own restaurant venture in Naples, Florida calling his business Fleming’s Sea Food. For the next twenty years he built Fleming’s into a popular eatery, and today it has become a chain.
Still another venture was waiting in Mexico as Colón moved to Cancun, opening a restaurant and bar. The Angus, a successful dining establishment, was soon pulling locals and travelers from around the world. But disaster struck when Hurricane Gilbert hit Cancun in 1989, and his business and personal properties were completely destroyed.
Undaunted, Don Colón returned to his old residence of Naples, Florida, to open a successful Mexican restaurant that named Pancho’s, after his son and also his all-time favorite tennis player, Pancho Segura. The restaurant was so popular it was awarded four and a half stars by Naples Daily News.
It was there that Colón had the pleasure of serving numerous famous Americans including Larry Bird, Jimmy Connors and Mary Carrillo. As is every immigrant’s dream to someday return home a success, Colón went back to Ecuador where he started a restaurant in Quito, naming int Don Colón. For two years this namesake venture served both city inhabitants and tourists before he sold it to another restauranteur.
After 40 years of serving the public, Colón retired to Naples devoting his time to his favorite hobby of playing tennis. He made it to the finals of the “65 and Over” Florida Open, but still had more to do in life, and decided to return to his home country of Ecuador.
Today, in the historic city of Cuenca, he continues to charm and delight customers with his delicious international cuisine and rakish wit. “Don Colón” restaurant and bar entertains Ecuadorians and espats alike, travelers and residents – all who call the beautiful city of Cuenca home, as he now himself.
“Have a wonderful dinner, and please, if you need any help in Cuenca, just let me know”
-Chef Don Colón-