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Updated: August 22, 2022 / 40 Under Forty, Class of 2022

40 Under Forty 2022: Natalie Rodriguez

Photo | Erika Sidor Natalie Rodriguez
Photo | Erika Sidor 40 Under Forty, Class of 2022 winners (from left) Natalie Rodriguez, Matthew Vaccaro, Natalia Oliver, and Masielle "Massy" Paulino at the Nuestra restaurant inside the Bull Mansion in Worcester (special thanks to Natalie Rodiguez)
Natalie Rodriguez, 38
  • Title Owner
  • Company Nuestra, in Worcester
  • Residence Worcester
  • Birthplace Worcester
  • College:Quinsigamond Community College
Click here to read about the other 40 Under Forty, Class of 2022
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Rodriguez started out in the hospitality industry at 16, worked her way up to a hotel manager, and, in 2019, opened her own Puerto Rican restaurant, where she is the head chef.

She faced her share of challenges in the beginning: Nuestra opened months before the COVID-19 pandemic and, despite pivoting to takeout and catering, was forced to shutter its brick-and-mortar location. Rodriguez’s luck changed, however, when she decided to move her business to Worcester’s Bull Mansion, an historic 14,600-square-foot building on Pearl Street. Although it was a dauntingly large space, which required some considerable elbow grease, Nuestra has become a city landmark offering an event venue and regular dining hours.

With an unmistakably powerful presence, Rodriguez is a mentor to her employees, as well as a leader in the business community. She offers financial literacy and credit consultancy and is committed to supporting more women in business. Throughout the pandemic, she partnered with the Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester to serve hot meals to those experiencing homelessness.

What movie best encapsulates your personality? “The Pursuit of Happyness”

What Central Mass. historical figure do you most admire? Clara Barton

What is one key to business success most people don’t know about? Other people's opinions about you do not pay your bills.

Outside of your career and family, what has been your marquee life experience? Besides becoming a mother, I would say making top 100 on “MasterChef” season 2.

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