San Antonio’s Special Recipe:
Close your eyes for a moment, and imagine that you are at your favorite restaurant. You know, the one where you walk in, sit down, and relax immediately. It is the one where you know exactly what to order, and the smiling staff knows your order too! It is the one where somehow, you feel reminded of home, of carefree days, and comfortable surroundings.
There are few dining institutions that underscore these feelings for us like Mi Tierra Café & Panadería.
Located on Produce Row in downtown San Antonio, Mi Tierra is a home away from home for locals and visitors alike. Walking inside, guests are greeted by a rainbow of color, with Mexican piñatas and thick strands of twinkle lights dangling from every inch of the ceiling. Guitarists and mariachis are often there playing for patrons amidst the sweet smells of baked goods wafting from their glass fronted cases.
This is a place ripe with symbolism, a place that has been lovingly created and sustained over the years, as evidenced by the many-framed photographs and newspaper clippings of Mi Tierra’s founding family.
The Mi Tierra story began in 1941 when Pedro and Cruz Cortez opened a small three-table cafe at San Antonio’s famed Mercado. Over 70 years later, this cafe has become a landmark known around the state, the country, and even the world, continuing to serve up memorable meals and experiences in the heart of downtown.
“Yes, it is about food, it is about the cuisine, but it is more about offering a world class experience, hospitality, welcoming people into your home.”
Creating a lasting legacy takes hard work and dedication, two attributes well exhibited by the Cortez family. Today, both Pedro and Cruz’s children and grandchildren continue to run the family business and it’s through their commitment that they have solidified their name in the Alamo City.
Michael Cortez is a member of the 3rd generation working in the family business today. We sat down with him one early spring morning and listened as he spoke with both humility and pride about Mi Tierra’s continuous mission and enduring popularity.
“Yes, it is about food, it is about the cuisine, but it is more about offering a world class experience, hospitality, welcoming people into your home,” he said. And indeed, home is where you are when dining in the company of the Cortez family and their kind staff.
The restaurant, which is open 24/7, quite literally serves as an extension of the family’s home, a place where quality, home-cooked meals and passed down family recipes commingle with Mexican tradition and taste. This unwavering warmth and consistency is one of the many reasons guests keep coming back to Mi Tierra—and will continue to do so in the years to come.
Family is at the heart of the Mi Tierra brand, just as it is for our own team here at Mission Restaurant Supply. As a family-owned-and-operated foodservice equipment and supply dealer, it is a distinct pleasure to work with other family-run businesses. We have had the honor of watching Mi Tierra grow as people travel from far and wide to sample the authentic fare and down home ambiance.
Since the founding days when Mi Tierra was a small, three-table café, the restaurant has grown to seat up to 500 people at a time! Throughout this growth, we have had the pleasure of helping the Cortez family keep up with demand by assisting with both their front of the house supplies and back of the house equipment, not to mention the custom fabrication of new kitchen spaces through our concept designers and metal fabricators.
We’ve also helped introduce smart equipment investments, such as a lineup of commercial steam kettles and tilt skillets, which have increased food production and kitchen efficiency, all while keeping the integrity of the food at its best.
“Any time that we dream up an idea, whether it is redoing our kitchen or rethinking our basement or opening up a new restaurant, Mission is at the top of our list,” said Cortez.
We are proud to be partners with a group of people as kind and talented as the Cortez family. Their special recipe of comida, familia, and cultura makes an enduring impression on all who visit the La Familia Cortez restaurants, and the pleasure is ours to share their story with you!
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