The late Don Chiavario opened Don Juans in 1966. Don was living in California at the time that other Mexican fast foods were just starting in that area. He saw how popular that type of restaurant was becoming and soon decided to open his own restaurant. After scouting out several locations he decided on the Dallas area. He chose Grand Prairie for many reasons. One of which was the proximity to the aircraft plant with thousands of hungry lunch customers and another was the availability of a suitable building that he could remodel to suit his needs.
The building he found was a former “Griddle System”. “The Griddle” was a popular diner in the fifties and early sixties. Don designed and even did most of the remodeling work to convert the building to Don Juans. He opened the business in September of 1966. Fast food was not very common in Grand Prairie at that time and Mexican fast food was nonexistent! Don Juans was probably one of the first restaurants in Grand Prairie to have a drive-thru. Now there are drive-thru restaurants everywhere!
The business prospered and grew but Don did not stay in one place very long, so back to California he went. He had several different managers operate the business for a few years but being an absentee owner did not work out well. In 1975 Don sold the restaurant to two employees, Jim Parker and Clyde Golden. This partnership ran the restaurant for several years. Eventually one of the partners bought out the other. Jim Parker operated the restaurant until about 1989 when his younger brother John took over the reins. John has been operating the restaurant since then. Jim and John both started working at Don Juans part-time while they were in high school.
The business has continued to prosper and grow. Very little has actually changed from the day Don Chiavario first opened the business. The beans and meat are still cooked fresh every day. Chili, burrito sauce, hot sauce, guacamole, and almost everything else are still made from scratch each day using the same recipes that Don perfected back in 1966. Don Juans has always tried to provide good food and service at reasonable prices in a clean and pleasant atmosphere.
Don Juans is the second oldest restaurant in Grand Prairie! There is only one restaurant in Grand Prairie that has been in business at the same location longer than Don Juans!
They have many customers who have been eating here since 1966! Others have been eating here for years and they continue to attract new customers. Many kids have “grown-up” on Don Juans. Thanks to all of the customers for your past and continued patronage.