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Meet the Couple Behind Pueblos and Other Local Eats

Jack Thurmond
The Pueblos in Cumming Georgia is a community favorite among residents. Pueblos, the restaurant that started it all for Sergio Moreia and Laura Estrada, now has three locations in Dahlonega, Cumming, and Gainesville.

On a typical weekday, Laura Estrada and Sergio Moreia spend long hours making sure their customers get nothing less than the best culinary experience possible. 

The two local entrepreneurs are known for opening multiple restaurants in north Georgia, including regional favorite Pueblos Authentic Mexican Cuisine.  

Moreia’s passion for the food industry began in 1991 at his dad’s bar in Uruguay. He grew up watching his father serve customers and cater to private events outside his establishment.  

After coming to America and meeting Estrada in 1996, the pair opened their first restaurant together. At first, they struggled to gain financial momentum. 

“The toughest part was finding the funding for the business. At the time, we were not able to find banking institutions, so we went all out of pocket.” – Laura Estrada, Co-Owner and CFO of Lanier Restaurant Management Group 

Moreia and Estrada spent time researching places where they could start their new endeavor at less of a financial risk, and they eventually landed their sights on Dahlonega, Georgia. In 2001, PMC welcomed its first customers. 

Since then, their business has done more than survive. It has thrived. Pueblos, now an asset of the twosomes company Lanier Restaurant Management Group, has two additional locations in Gainesville and Cumming and has become a culinary staple in north-central Georgia. 

Sergio Moreia and his wife Laura Estrada have been in the restaurant business for over 20 years. After the founding of their first Pueblos Authentic Mexican Cuisine in 2001 their business, now consisting of multiple eateries in north Georgia, took off. (Laura Estrada)

LRMG has continued to grow with the founding of two new restaurants in Dahlonega, Grapevines Casual Italian Dining and 19° North Seafood & Grill. 

Moreia’s inspiration for Grapevines came from the food he grew up on. Italian cuisine was a staple of his childhood back in Uruguay, and with there being a demand for it in north Georgia, he felt he knew how to tap into the market. 

As for 19° North, the couple took that restaurant off the hands of its previous owner after he retired.  

“We did so on a personal level to continue his legacy and maintain the local jobs,” Estrada said. 

Although Moreia and Estrada have built a reputation as some of the top entrepreneurs in the region, their duties are not without stress. 

Moreia looks over all locations and ensures that their staff is ready to treat each shift like another grand opening.  

“My job is big. I must hire people, fire people, I’m like the coach of the operation,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Estrada takes the role of chief financial advisor for their company. She oversees and serves as the administrator of human resources and finance.  

Despite the growth in their respective roles, the pair still maintain the vision they have held for the past two decades.  

According to Estrada, the top priority of their company is consistency, whether it is in customer service, food preparation or the condition of the restaurant. 

“We’re always trying to aim for 300 percent.” – Laura Estrada, Co-Owner and CFO of the Lanier Restaurant Management Group 

Both believe the aspect that sets their places apart from the competition is that they prepare their food in-house daily. In addition, in places like Pueblos, they strive to provide the most authentic and traditional dishes possible.

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About the Contributor
Jack Thurmond
Jack Thurmond, Staff Writer
Hello there! My name is Jack Thurmond. This is my third year at the University of North Georgia, and I am studying communications to become a sports journalist. I joined the Vanguard because it gives me the window to experience things I typically would not get to.
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