Desperados Owner Jorge Levy on Emails to Mark Cuban and Running a Family Restaurant
Jorge Levy and his two sons own Desperados on Greenville and in Garland. The senior Levy, originally from Mexico, is also involved in The Dallas Margarita Society, Savor Mexico, the Greenville Area Business Association and recently won the National Restaurant Association's Faces of Diversity Award. Most importantly, he's the guy that emailed Mark Cuban about saving the Saint Patrick's Day parade.
Jake and Jorge Levy
Following is a simple story about how the son of French Jewish immigrant, who was raised as a catholic in Mexico, opened a Tex-Mex restaurant after he was drafted for the Vietnam War, then 30 years later found a way to save an Irish parade with the help of a Cuban.
So, when the parade ran into some financial parade you just thought, "Maybe Mark can cover it?"
Well, one of my customers suggested I call him.
And so you just said, "Okay. I'll call him"?
Well, we (the Greenville Restaurant Association) lost one of the major sponsors, which is Andrews, the distributor for Miller and Coors. They were on board all along and then they called up and said they couldn't do it. The budget is like $95,000. So, I went to Ben E Keith and they said they could give us part of it, but I was still short $40,000.
We sent out a press release notifying the public that the parade may end. Then a customer suggested I contact Mark Cuban. So, I got home and told my wife and she said you have nothing to lose.
How did you ask him?
I sent him an email and told him my situation and asked if he could help. He replied in seven minutes. He said he couldn't let the tradition die; it's part of Dallas. He said he lost too many brain cells in his younger days due to the Greenville parade. He said he'd send me the forty that we were short, plus $25,000 for the scholarship fund for DISD.
That had to be easier then you ever expected, huh?
I'm looking at the email and he signed it with "M" and is very to the point.
Did you think it was a joke?
Yes! Who's going to give you $65,000?
In seven minutes!
Exactly! Especially Mark Cuban. I have two restaurants and barely have time to go workout. This guy owns I don't know how many companies. I didn't believe it. So I replied back, "Thank you so much, Mr. Cuban, for your generosity ... What's the next step?"
Oh, so you were testing "M?"
Yes. Then, he replied back that someone from his office would contact me the next day and that was it.
So, he has people to handle it. Then what happened...
The next day someone called me from his office and asked for the details for the check and everything, and she was actually someone that my wife knew from long ago. And my wife knew she worked for Cuban, so then I knew that it was legitimate.
You had confirmation that it was in fact Cuban, not Dirk messing with the bosses cell phone, so how did you proceed?
Then, I didn't know if I should tell the public or not, so I asked him if he cared if we told people that he made the donation. He said he didn't mind but that he wouldn't do personal interviews.
My last contact with him was that I would email him at the end of the school year with the names of the three kids who received the scholarships.