40 Under 40 Class of 2007

Bob Lowry

Age 36. Owner, Bueno y Sano and Rolando’s restaurants

It all started with a late-night stop at a Mexican joint on Nantucket.

Bob Lowry, then a recent graduate of UMass-Amherst, came away from that visit with more than a full stomach. He also took some inspiration for an entrepreneurial venture. Upon returning to Amherst, he noticed a ‘for rent’ sign in a storefront, and began putting some numbers together in his head.

“I figured I needed to sell $600 worth of burritos a day to break even,” he said. After that, Lowry’s plan unfolded rather organically. He said he’d never made a burrito in his life, but had a sense that he could make a good one. He’d never considered being a restaurateur before, but thought he might make a good boss.

His hunches turned out to be right on the money. He opened his first location in Amherst in 1995, and the healthy, hearty burrito eatery was a hit — especially among the late-night crowd.

“When I opened Bueno y Sano, I thought, ‘this is me. This is exactly what I was meant to do.’ And I love what I do.”

Today, Lowry has two Bueno y Sano locations, in Amherst and Northampton, and is in the process of opening a third restaurant with a new theme in Amherst. It will be called Rolando’s, named for his long-time general manager, and will specialize in roast beef and falafel. In addition, his brother is planning to open a third Bueno y Sano in Burlington, Vt.

The business has opened the door to community service for Lowry, who began working with local nonprofits, initially providing fundraising dinners. He now sits on a number of local boards, including Northstar: Self-directed Learning for Teens, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Hampshire Health Connect.

Even with so much on his plate, Lowry maintains a laid-back view of the world.

“I have it pretty good because I have a great staff,” he said. “I’m not a slave to my places.”

Looking ahead, Lowry said he hopes to maintain that peace of mind, and to keep having fun at work. That said, Lowry is still one of the busier ‘Type B’ personalities you’re likely to meet.

“People who know Bueno y Sano know I’m hard to find,” he said. “I’m usually out finding some other crazy project.”