On Labor Day, local restaurateur and Loganville City Councilman Rey Martinez heads out on another tour of duty in the Middle East.
“I will be heading up to Virginia and then I will be shipping out sometime around Halloween or the first week of November,” Martinez said. “I will still be stateside training for about one and a half or two months before we ship out.”
Martinez was elected to the Loganville City Council in 2010 after returning from his last tour of active duty. At the time, he said he didn’t expect to return to active duty, but he did acknowledge that as a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves it was always a possibility. He learned earlier this year that the possibility had become a reality and he had to let his fellow council members know that he would not be able to finish up his term stateside. However, he intends to be skyped in from the combat zone so he can still participate in the city’s business. He also confirmed that on his return he will be running for reelection.
“(City Manager) Bill Jones is going to set it up with skype – there’s a lot going on and I still want to be involved,” Martinez said, adding that he had informed the mayor of his intention to seek another term when he returns next year. His council post is up for reelection in November 2013.
Martinez is hoping that this time, however, he has better luck with his restaurant. Before his last tour of duty, Martinez had fulfilled a longtime dream to open a restaurant. As Cuban immigrant who came to America with his family when he was a young boy, Martinez wanted to share his love of Cuban cuisine. His Loganville restaurant, Rey's Cuban Grill, gave him that opportunity. But the restaurant did not survive the combination of his absence on active duty and the downturn in the economy. Not long after his return from the Middle East in 2010, he had to close it down.
But in May this year, Martinez was able to revive his dream. He opened Rey’s Cuban Café, a smaller restaurant, but still serving authentic Cuban cuisine. He is again taking a chance by leaving it open during his absence on active duty.
“When I leave, four employees are going to stick around. I will be doing some of the accounting from my computer overseas,” Martinez said, adding “It will still be open Tuesday to Saturday – closed Sunday and Monday.”
Martinez said the reason he is taking a chance again is simple – his customers asked for it.
“It would be easy for me to close it down, but my employees say they will take care of it and I have been getting a lot of support from my customers,” Martinez said.
Rey’s Cuban Café is located on Rosebud Road at the intersection of Highway 78 at the point where Grayson, Loganville and Snellville converge. He is hoping that people will continue to support his restaurant while he is away serving his country.