Pursuing Opportunities

OUTdrive Episode 92 with Cesar Marin

OUTdrive Episode 92 with Cesar Marin

Community is defined as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” A strong sense of community is part of what makes rural America a great place to live, work and raise a family. In this episode of OUTdrive, our guest and local Mexican restaurant owner Cesar Marin shares the stories of the Marin and Perez families, who saw moving to Missouri and joining a small-town community as an opportunity to build a better life.

Cesar is the owner of El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant in Sedalia, Missouri. Cesar’s mother and father-in-law, Maria and H.A. Perez, founded El Tapatio in 1995 and ran the business for 25 years. In 2021, they retired and passed the torch to their daughter, Minerva, and Cesar. In addition to his role at El Tap, he continues to work as a car salesman at Bryant Motors, located across the street from the restaurant. After spending most of his school-age years in California, Cesar’s family moved to Sedalia in the late ‘90s. Cesar graduated from Smith Cotton High School and went on to study at State Fair Community College.

El Tapatio is a staple in the community thanks to the legacy the Perez family established over 25 years ago. Tune in to this episode to see how the pursuit of the American Dream and hard work cultivated a modern-day success story right here in Sedalia.


  • 2:30 – Cesar talks about growing up in California and how his family ended up moving to Missouri
  • 5:30 – Cesar shares the story of getting his first restaurant job at El Tapatio and working his way from a dishwasher to a manager
  • 7:25 – Cliff and Cesar discuss how important it is for high school age kids to work with the public in customer service roles
  • 8:30 – Cesar shares the origin story of how his father-in-law, H.A. Perez, founded El Tapatio
  • 11:40 – Cesar talks about how he created ties in the car business in high school and eventually made his way back to the industry in 2010
  • 13:00 – Cliff and Cesar discuss Cesar working multiple jobs throughout most of his life and how he is able to balance both ownership of El Tapatio and working at Bryant Motors
  • 14:45 – Some of the ways El Tapatio had to adjust and adapt during the height of the pandemic to stay in business
  • 18:00 – Cesar shares how the location of the car business and restaurant complement each other
  • 19:40 – Cesar explains the importance he places on customer service at both the car lot and El Tapatio and the power of online reviews
  • 26:20 – Cesar shares some of the ways El Tap gives back to the community through fundraisers and sponsoring local sports teams, school districts, and law enforcement
  • 28:20 – Cesar shares his advice on what it takes to be successful in business
  • 31:30 – Cesar describes rural America and why he loves living in Sedalia
  • 34:15 – Cesar talks about his favorite sport, baseball, and his long-time fandom of the L.A. Dodgers
  • 39:15 – Cesar shares his closing thoughts in regards to new things happening at El Tapatio and an update on his family