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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Arestegui brings business full circle on Hill

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TAYLOR NOHRENBERG
Zury’s Taco Bar will bring Latin American food to the Hill in the coming weeks.

Editor’s note: Since the publication of this article, the Northern Iowan has been informed that Zury’s Taco’s did not pass a certain inspection, and thus will not be opening on the date provided in this article.

Anyone who knows Itzury “Zuri” Arestegui would say she’s a determined woman, but to her, she’s beginning a journey of something she never thought was possible.

College Hill is seeing that dream come to life with the addition of Zury’s Taco Bar, located in the old iconic Other Place (OP) building at 2214 College Street. The OP closed back on Dec. 1, 2021 and has since left the building vacant for two years. 

Zury and her restaurant team of around 20 plan to bring back Latin American cuisine on Friday, March 8, to locals who not that long ago tasted meals from her food truck, “Zury’s Cuisine & Tacos,” that could be found most nights at the corner of Bani’s Liquor & Vape Shop.

“I am very familiar with the community,” she said. “Last year, I had an idea to get my own food truck, my own business… I started coming every weekend, and people liked it. People asked for location, location.”

Arestegui has lived in the Cedar Valley for close to 12 years and has formed deep connections with her customers over the years from both the food truck and her seven years of experience in the food industry.

The single mom of two from Michoacán, Mexico didn’t know much about owning a business that wasn’t a food truck, just that she had the talent to provide her cooking to the community. 

Iowa is very similar to Michoacán. I think your soul chooses your place, I never thought I would end up here… I want to achieve the community’s expectations.

— Itzury “Zuri” Arestegui, owner of Zury's Taco Bar

“While I thought the food truck was a good idea, I didn’t imagine how many challenges there were with a food truck,” she said.

Arestegui happened upon the building for lease almost by chance. 

“One day I was walking, I saw a person putting up the signs, and I thought ‘You know, it’s for rent,’ but I don’t have money for this adventure, just my food truck,” she said. 

With recipes infused with tastes from Guatemala, Peru and Columbia carried down from her family and a passion to provide a sense of home and community, she sought out the expertise and financial support from her business partners, Rafael Delgado, Yenifer Hernandez and Gerardo Delgado, to start her business journey.

After talking with her brother and family members about the opportunity she had, it was a done deal. The food truck that started it all was sold in the fall and that money has gone to making the new restaurant feel more like Zury’s. 

“Now it’s Zury’s place and not Zury’s on the corner,” she said, laughing at the memory.

One of her business partners, Yenifer Hernandez, wanted to branch out into the restaurant business, and Arestegui presented her with just that opportunity. 

“It’s a dream come true,” she said during an interview with the Northern Iowan interpreted by UNI student Jason Feliciano on Wednesday, Feb. 28. “I’ve dreamed about this for a long time, and it was a blessing to meet someone that’s on the same path as me. Itzury had the same intent of opening a business and had the experience where we were able to contribute financially in a team of like-minded people.”

Hernandez and her husband moved to the United States from Guatemala in 2016 and now live in Cedar Falls managing a roofing company. Hernandez came to the Hill one night in the summer to view the area and said she enjoyed “the setting and the lights.”

“I saw the importance the Hill has for Cedar Falls,” Hernandez said. “Being close to campus may also open up more doors for us too.”

The changes Arestegui and Hernandez made to the space, which can hold around 80 people, give it a more Latin American feel, but the atmosphere alone will be enough for customers wanting to get a taste of Latin culture and a sense of family. 

An obstacle the team has faced is with language barriers. Some of the staff are bilingual, but most of the kitchen crew primarily speak Spanish and other staff members only speak English. Arestegui said this doesn’t impact the business and is something that everyone on her team is working on before opening day. 

To students who may be far from home or who may come from international backgrounds, Arestegui wants to create a “Grandma’s house” in the sense that everyone is welcome to come sit, eat and feel safe. 

“Everyone knows Grandma’s house is open for everybody,” she said. “In a metaphoric way, if you need a place where you need belonging, this is the place.”

Zury’s will be serving specialty tacos and drinks and have music and dancing. Patrons can enjoy street tacos, quesadillas, burritos and more.

College Hill has seen several changes in the past year with businesses: Next Gen Nutrition in the former Dior’s Slushee & Bar; Tales Untold Tattoos in the former Balance Hot Yoga studio; and last summer with Cooper’s Taproom at the former Hydrant Firehouse Grill.

As for the future, Arestegui has big plans: “I hope we can open more places, more locations around here, Iowa, United States, why not?” Arestegui said. “I won’t die without my Michelin Star. I have big dreams.”

“Iowa is very similar to Michoacán,” she said. “I think your soul chooses your place, I never thought I would end up here… I want to achieve the community’s expectations.”

For all things Zury’s Taco Bar, the business can be found on Facebook for menu items, business updates, and more. 

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TAYLOR NOHRENBERG, Staff Writer

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