Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network
Northeast Regional Office

Aguacate Verde Restaurant

Silvia De La SotaFor Silvia De La Sota, owner of the Aguacate Verde Restaurant on 13 Elm Street, opening a restaurant in the City of Somerville is more than just a home or a place to do business. “Somerville represents the American dream,” she says. “It allows me to be myself and grow.” She’s definitely making her mark: as a way to foster community and cross-cultural exchange, De La Sota is adding live music and bilingual karaoke to her restaurant, which has seen an ever-growing customer base since she took ownership in May 2011.  Staying true to her training in public health, she’s made the menu healthier by using low-saturated oils, natural seasonings and fresh ingredients as well as more vegetarian and vegan options than most Mexican restaurants.

Silvia worked with Senior Business Advisor Awilda Irizarry at the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Northeast Regional Office at Salem State University. De La Sota discussed her goal of purchasing an existing restaurant located at 13 Elm Street in Somerville. Ms. Irizarry helped De La Sota develop a business plan that included an estimate of capital needs as well as both income and expense pro-forma projections for 36 months. De La Sota was approved for a $53,000 7(a) loan from Mt. Washington Savings Bank backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Aguacate Verde was opened in May 2011.  

De La Sota’s story began in the late 1990s when she moved to the area from her native Peru looking for job opportunities. After volunteering and doing social work for several years, she won a scholarship to take math classes at Harvard Extension School and graduated in 2007. “My professor encouraged me to become a math teacher, but I wanted to do something more directly involved with the community,” she says. She worked in the non-profit sector focusing on local public health issues for several years, but was laid off during the economic recession and soon found herself struggling to make ends meet. She was a customer at Tacos Lupitas in Somerville and learned that the owner was selling the restaurant. Silvia decided to pursue this unique opportunity.  

Ms. De La Sota has the expertise and knowledge to run an effective business. First she has extensive experience working with the Hispanic Community and local public health.  Second, She gained valuable business experience working with her relatives managing a restaurant in her native Peru. Third, she is active with the community. Ms. De La Sota is currently working with the City of Somerville to exchange food and culture. She is a board member at Somerville Access Television and Somerville Arts Council and Cambridge Health Alliance.

De La Sota has the determination to tap into all the resources available to her which includes but is not limited to  banking, city, and state resources.  Last, Silvia believes in the importance of seeking mentors to succeed in her business because mentoring is a professional activity, a trusted relationship, and a meaningful commitment to business success.