Ryan McGunnigle is a Dakota County native and a graduate of Rosemount High School and Dakota County Technical College. He is the owner of Las Tortillas Mexican Restaurant and has been supporting the work of 360 Communities for years.
Recently, McGunnigle catered 360 Communities’ grand opening event at the Rosemount Family Resource Center. When his daughter’s school closed because of the pandemic, he immediately thought of the school’s lunch chef he had worked with in the past.
“It just popped into my head that he would have a lot of milk that needed to be served before it spoiled,” said McGunnigle, “I called him and he gave me 250 chocolate milks that morning. I then had produce and product at Las Tortillas that wouldn’t last more than a week so I thought of the Rosemount Family Resource Center.” He knew families would need help as students would be home and unable to access school meals.
McGunnigle contacted 360 Communities about possibly serving meals to kids at the Rosemount Family Resource Center. The following day, March 16th, Ryan began serving lunches to youth. To date, he has served more than 4,100 meals! Community members have donated enough money and food to keep the meals going through the end of the school year.
“As a chef, I always think of feeding people first, then seeing what else needs to be done,” said McGunnigle. “My mom and church taught me from a young age how much need there is for families in our community and how to help through food.”
He said Las Tortillas is doing well because of incredible support from the surrounding communities. “We have worked very hard and very quickly to adapt to the take out only business model. We didn’t hesitate to stay open, fight through it, and make it work our own way. It was a team effort, and we’re going to get through this and be a better business on the other side.”
McGunnigle and his wife, Jen, have started their own nonprofit called the Las Tortillas Community Fund in order to continue giving back to the community through food. “A special thanks to my wife, Chef Roberto Morua, and Ronald Boyd from Rosemount Elementary,” said McGunnigle. “It takes a special team to make this all happen out of a tiny Mexican Restaurant.
Service is what I do every day. It’s the reason I’m a Chef and I own a restaurant. I’m naturally trying to make people happy, comfort them, and being there for them if needed. Las Tortillas is proud to work side by side with a great organization like 360 Communities.