“The Mercado was like the Ellis Island of San Antonio,” says Jorge Cortez. “Most of the immigrants worked there.”
Cortez’s father, Pete, was reminded of his homeland when he first encountered the bustling market. “Mi tierra,” Cortez says. “He saw the musicians, he saw the chili queens, he smelled the fruit… all of that made a difference [to him].”
After meeting his wife, Cruz, at Blanca’s Café, the young couple opened up tiny, three-table café in 1941, Jamaica Number Five. From those humble beginnings, the Cortez family business was born. Mi Tierra Café y Panadería is now a San Antonio tradition for tourists and locals alike.
Through the years, Cortez says the family’s emphasis on service remains constant.
“This apron that we put on every day is our badge of honor. We are here to serve all people, of all races, of all incomes.”
StoryCorps is made possible by ESD Digital Marketing, and also made possible by Codeup and Monterrey Iron & Metal.