Maria Vargas had barely made it to grade school when her father bought La Taza de Oro, a Puerto Rican diner that had moved from the Upper West Side to Chelsea during the 1960s. Almost half a century later, La Taza de Oro is still bustling – thanks to Vargas, her late parents, her husband, and a loyal staff that tends to massive, simmering pots of Spanish rice and carne guisada for hours on end.
These holdouts, however, would be long since gone if Vargas didn't also own the building, operating a business whose profit margin is personal than financial. She holds onto the diner, running it the way her parents did in a neighborhood that they would hardly recognize, in hopes of offering the new Chelsea a piece of the old.
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