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Take the Heat: Restaurant opens during pandemic with success

Arturo Mora launched Flame the Taqueria in Johnston last January, first as a food truck. Now, it's a brick-and-mortar establishment.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Starting a business is tough, but doing so during a pandemic is tougher. 

Here in central Iowa, though, folks are accepting the challenge with gusto. An example of this is Flame the Taqueria, where owner Arturo Mora is cooking up success. 

He opened his restaurant in January 2021 along Merle Hay Road in Johnston. However, it all started with a food truck before it grew into a brick-and-mortar establishment. 

Even though the pandemic threatened to shut down his business, Maro kept grinding. 

"I wasn't concerned about me," he said. "I was concerned about people who worked with me three years on the food truck." 

With no choice but to keep cooking, things turned around. 

"If you think you have the right product, things are going to come," Maro said. 

His advice for others opening a restaurant right now— understand that it's going to take up all of your time, but it'll be worth it. 

"Once you start seeing the growth, my god, it's like having a baby. Once they start walking and they start seeing themselves. And you start seeing, I start seeing it for myself," he said. 

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