Born in Mexico with the name Francisca Alicia Santos Rosas, Frances A. Murillo immigrated to the United States with her family as a child, where her father changed all of their names to sound more American. She started her career doing field work with her parents in the summers and working as a waitress at a variety of restaurants, including Nut Tree, Coffee Tree, Black Oak and the restaurant of the local golf course, during the school year. Always enjoying her time working at restaurants, when one of her employers wanted to sell his business, she and her then husband put together the necessary funds and bought the restaurant.
Murillo’s Mexican Food opened for business in Vacaville, California, in 1971. A bar-style Mexican restaurant, that first building could fit around 95 people and Ms. Murillo brought in several ping-pong tables as entertainment for children. In the beginning, she had her mother-in-law helping out with the cooking and any time there was a customer complaint about the food she listened and strove to do better. After 10 years of renting the space, she was able to buy the building outright and in the 1990s she opened her second location in East Monte Vista. Now with 75 employees between the two restaurants, Ms. Murillo has just opened a third location and plans to spend the coming year building up the new location and helping it to thrive.
Standing out in her field for her focus on the customer as an individual, Ms. Murillo is continually motivated by her love for her customers as well as by her own self-love and desire to be a respected professional. She is deeply grateful to her grandfather, who instilled in her the value of respecting others. Alongside her primary endeavors, she maintains professional affiliation with the local chapter of Rotary International, the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce and Vacaville Fiesta Days, in order to keep abreast of developments in her field and community. She would advise young and aspiring professionals to think carefully about what they want to do with their lives and then stay focused on that. She further notes that if you give your work your own flair and personality you can fit in just about anywhere and if people don’t like that, you simply learn to deal with it.
For excellence in her career, Ms. Murillo has been the recipient of a number of honors and awards throughout the years. From 2005 to 2019, Murillo’s Mexican Food was voted Best Mexican Food by The Reporter and she was also profiled by René Villata for The Hispanic Voice in 2019. Earlier, in 2003, her contributions to the community led her to be elected as the grand marshal of the Vacaville Fiesta Days parade. In light of all her accomplishments, she has been selected for inclusion in the upcoming edition of Who’s Who of Professional Women.
Above all these accolades, however, Ms. Murillo considers the highlight of her career to be the longevity of her career as the sole owner and founder of Murillo’s Mexican Food for over 50 years. In her free time, she enjoys being with her family, which includes her three children, Linda Esperanza Murillo, Danny Murillo and Debbie Murillo, and 10 grandchildren. She also counts five dogs among her household, Bonita, Paco, Mellie, Candy and Lego. While Ms. Murillo remains active with Murillo’s Mexican Food, she has sold the business to one of her daughters and hopes to see her daughter achieve success through hard work the same way she has.