Maria de la Luz “Luchita” Munoz Galindo was an international force in our community. Her recent passing, at the age of 97, allows us the gift of reflecting on the life of a remarkable woman. Luchita’s life reads like a great American Mexican novel. Born in another state, Illinois, moving to another country and starting a family Mexico City; and, then coming back home to run a business that has given a thousand fold to the people of greater Cleveland by providing hundreds of jobs, millions of meals, and countless returns to The Land through her amazing restaurant on West 117th.


Luchita’s story, just like her name, shines a light on so many others. Like those who came before her, Maria de la Luz “Luchita” Munoz Galindo risked it all to come to this place we know and love, these United States. Immigrants and newcomers, like Luchita, start businesses that provide employment for their neighbors and for the family and friends who follow them. Immigrants and newcomers move into communities, send their children to neighborhood schools, they cut their lawns and water their flower beds, celebrate holidays of their own and those of this country, attend the spiritual services of their ancestors, fail, rise up, and make a life for themselves and their families.

Again and again, this story is told by the Luchitas of our communities and of our state. While the numbers of those among us who are foreign-born vary annually, it is an indisputable truth that the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County was fueled, and will be fueled again, by those who come to our shores seeking a better life. This is as apparent as the deliciousness of the Pollo en Mole Poblano on West 117th, as beautiful as the grand Rotunda in Heinen’s on East 9th Street, and as innovative and quality driven as the technology at Quality Electrodynamics.

All of these sculpted, wrought, wrestled with, created places come from people with papers, from people who come from other places. We are better because of them. We are more because of Luchita’s. We are them. And they are who we came from and the port to which we are going.

Gracias Luchita. Thank you for your light and life. We live each day in a great community.


Written by Joe Cimperman