female-owned / mexican-american / family business
Try the following social experiment: charge $35 and up for an entree. Make said entree not an Italian, French or steakhouse dish. Madness will ensue. Make it Mexican food specifically and you’ll see uproar for anything over $20. Setting our subtle white supremacy aside, when did foods original goal of bringing us together become less important? At Joe’s, I couldn’t forget it. Even as we sat in an empty restaurant. Even as the morning light crept in and the fridge hummed, I sat in awe of a place that had been in Austin for decades. The dozens of empty chairs whispered about a business upheld with love, the spirit of badass women and a sense of community responsibility.
"This is my comfort. They are my comfort. It's having my family. It doesn't matter where you put me, as long as they are here, I am home." 
On family
Our entire family came from Mexico to work and in pursuit of a better life. They ended up here in Austin. It's so much a part of our identity that I don't think I ever considered a partner (before I was married) who wasn't raised here. 

My grandmother Sophia immigrated when she was an infant, so this is the only life she ever knew. My dad's parents were also from Mexico but he was born in Austin.all over. They used to travel up to Michigan to pick the cotton in the fields and my husbands family came from Mexico when he was three. Sometimes he and my dad talk about who had it harder growing up because they both grew up in poor migrant families, which is so ridiculous right (laughs)? I say all that to say, we have a strong worth ethic in our family. Everyone I am related to worked tooth and nail for everything we have now, and this restaurant in many ways is a tribute to that."  // Regina

On the restaurant
"I was raised here. The noise of customers, the clinking of the glasses, the laughter of a lot of families coming together, that's how I grew up. Every day after school, this is where I was. And now it's the same for my daughter and granddaughter.

Dealing with family isn't always easy, if we are being honest, but once you work it out there really is nothing like it. Imagine building something with your daughter, your sister, and your mom. I have that, right here." // Rose

On community
"It's interesting you know? We've fed a lot of people over the years. So you get used to the same faces day after day but you never get tired of building those relationships with your community. And now this is part of not just my life, it's a part of my grandchildren's childhood and the many children who come in here that will keep it going. I am really proud of that." // Rose
On voting
"Our district is District 3 and we had like 12 candidates in the past election. So I invited all the candidates out and we had a meet the candidate for each one. The goal is to put a face to the name but to remain neutral.  I always try to say we're like Switzerland, we are just a meeting ground for everybody. Sometimes we do a promotion where you get a free taco if bring an 'I Voted' sticker in. Seeing all those people galvanized, it's a reminder to candidates of the strength of the community. Also, who doesn't want a taco? On a more serious note, I want more than anything for our customers to educate themselves about the candidates and the issues. Even if you can't vote, you know someone who can, and that is powerful." // Regina

On race
"My dad grew up in the 50s when being a person of color was really hard. It was an interesting time for him because unlike most his siblings, he had light skin, green eyes, and light brown hair. Sometimes he tells me these stories about it. One, for example, is when he went from junior high to high school they put him in all remedial classes because of his surname. He had to demand that he was put in higher classes. Although he didn't look the part, necessarily of someone they would discriminate against, his surname gave it away. It's crazy to hear, no matter how many times he tells me. With that in mind, it was a huge priority for my parents to give me different experiences so I wouldn't experience as much of that and so I could expand my horizons you know? In Austin, it's predominantly brown and white. There's very little presence of other nationalities partially because we are so close to the border. So when I started traveling in college,[ for college or work], I learned how different the world looks when you get outside of my little Texas bubble."  // Regina
On politics
"The Texas bubble is an interesting one. My husband is Republican. Before he could ever vote, he was very conservative because that's how he grew up. Even without any Catholic churches in his neighborhood, he was Catholic. He used to go to Baptist churches with his friends in East Texas.

When all this presidential stuff starting rolling out, I was livid with him when he told me he voted for Trump in the primary. I remember asking, "how can you vote this way?" and he simply responded "The Democrats want to give everything away," I was stunned. He continued, "I worked too damn hard to give everything away to people who are lazy. They don't want to work when they can work, they're just milking off the government." So he went and voted for Trump." // Regina
​​​​On equality
"Equality. That's the biggest scam in America, no doubt. They tell us we are all created equal. But we aren't. I get my perspective from my dad, he's a realist. He always told me, "in this world, there are haves and have-nots." We should strive toward a world where we are equal in terms of where we start from, but also understand that this hierarchy isn't going to change. The hierarchy of the world isn't focused on equality.

Inequality gets really easy when we discriminate based on the color of skin or gender. I had a customer come in who was very vulgar with me after I asked him to not sit at a reserved table that was clearly marked. He called me a bitch and asked who I thought I was. I stood there and simply said, "I am the owner of this building. I expect you to show me respect regardless of who I am, and if you don't like it, there is the door." I don't know the magic answer to cure that behavior, I just try to treat others how I want to be treated, just like my parents taught me and how I teach my daughters. I know it sounds simple, but I firmly believe it. If we could treat each other as we want to be treated, half our problems in the world would go away." // Regina
From Austin, TX
Lives in Austin, TX

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