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Chilam Balam

When Soraya Rendon was 17-years-old living in Mexico City, she'd already developed a long-distance love for Chicago. She'd seen shows about Al Capone and pictures of the Sears Tower. She knew this was where she wanted to live.

So she packed her bags and - with a couple hundred dollars to her name - traveled 2,000 miles north to the Windy City. She came by herself and only spoke Spanish. She landed a few minimum-wage jobs first before landing a job working in the Sears Tower. It wasn't the dream job in the sense of reaching her ultimate goal, but it was this moment of experiencing a taste of the American dream. She was working in the tallest building in Chicago, one that used to just be a photograph.

The song "Non-Stop" from Hamilton could've just as easily been written about Soraya. She kept grinding, always working. Always learning. About five years after arriving here, Soraya landed a job as an executive loan officer in the mortgage business.

But that wasn't the ultimate dream either. She had her sites on 3023 North Broadway. A little garden-level restaurant space in Lakeview East.

Read the full article on ChicagoNow.

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