Just a little over three years ago, Diana Rodriguez lay in a hospital bed with third degree burns covering 30 percent of her body.
Today, the Farmington Hills resident is celebrating the success of her first business, Rio Grande Mexican Cuisine, a take-out restaurant at 28726 Grand River Ave. Rodriguez, her cousin Tonya Otero of Lincoln Park, and Rodriguez's husband Daniel Campbell, gathered there Friday for a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce.
"I lost my job of 10 years, I was really depressed and isolated," Rodriguez said of her life after the accident, which occurred at 10 Mile and Grand River. Out of work for three years, she was also self-conscious about her burns.
Rodriguez finally decided she could be comfortable in the restaurant business, sharing the recipes she and Otero learned from their grandmother. With her doctor's blessing, she opened a small shop inside a gas station, then in August, moved to the space in the small Grand River strip mall located next to Public Storage.
While she enjoys cooking, Rodriguez said, "For me, it's the fellowship with the customers. Everybody's been wonderful."
The menu is limited, with enchiladas, tamales, and a few other items Rodriguez and Otero do "precisely". While they may expand it, Rodriguez said she and Otero believe keeping the menu simple will ensure their success.
Rio Grande Mexican Cuisine is open Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and Saturday, 1 p.m.-10 p.m. They're closed Sunday and Monday. For information, call 248-476-2700.