“When we cut that ribbon, it was the dream that came true. An explosion of emotions right there,” said Jose Luis Rodriguez of the Mixtitos Kitchen opening.
DALLAS – I asked Jose Luis Rodriguez if it was too exaggerated, too exaggerated, to define his current situation as a real “American dream”. But he says that’s exactly what his life is right now, with a hefty dose of Mexican flavor, Japanese cuisine, and a French-inspired bechamel sauce thrown in for good measure too.
Several months ago, however, his first dream was not really taking off: he tried one of those “ghost kitchens” where you rent a kitchen space and only fill online and takeaway orders.
“It is the belief that keeps me going,” he told me then.
But his belief, and his dream, that one day he would have a restaurant of his own.
He came to America from Mexico 22 years ago and settled in Dallas.
“Just lead a better life. Get educated,” she said.
And I spent all those years as a waiter, as a waiter, working for other people. His real dream was to become a chef and owner of his own restaurant.
Well, just last month, the doors of Mixtitos Kitchen opened on the corner of Grand and Samuell in East Dallas. This is where you can find Jose Luis behind the bar, who directs a staff of cooks and sous chefs in the kitchen and constantly goes around the dining room to welcome customers.
“You don’t have to cook anymore. Let us do it for you,” he joked to one of his first customers. “It’s great to have friends here. Absolutely anytime.”
And this is where you can find her dream starting to come true.
“I always wear and wear this as one of my mantras, hard work pays off. And that’s what I did.”
He and his family, his wife, daughter and sister-in-law all work at Mixtitos. They took an old restaurant, refurbished it, reinvented it and transformed it into theirs. And they commissioned a mural for their center stage. A curved street through a small town shows a Mexican man staring across the square at a Japanese woman: that would be Karina, Jose Louis’ wife.
“I strongly believe in her talent,” said Karina Totsuka, whose mother was Mexican and her father was Japanese. “And I know I know how capable he is. That’s why his dream has become mine. Because I believe in him.”
Mixtito’s Kitchen blends Mexican and Japanese inspired dishes with French cooking techniques.
“This wonderful sandwich is called Croque monsieur,” said Jose Luis of one of his most popular dishes. “All in one bite. It reflects right there,” he said of a grilled sandwich “dipped in bechamel sauce stuffed with discada meat and Swiss cheese.”
Just as they united a Mexican and Japanese and American family, they like to say, preparing their American dream.
“And the American dream can be possible if you put yourself in that situation and that position, I think you can get everything you need, everything you want, and it’s possible here in America.”
Dallas city council members helped him with the official ribbon cutting just last month.
“Oh my God. When we cut that ribbon, it was the dream that came true. Right there. It was like an explosion of emotions right there. And it’s so good. It’s so good.”
And he admits, he hopes Mixtitos Kitchen can help provide something else as well.
“My hope when I see this beautiful corner of Dallas,” he said of the intersection of Grand and Samuell, “we thought we’d bring light to this neighborhood. Some light on this side of the Dallas corner.”
“The love, appreciation and support from the community, from people like you, has been amazing,” said her sister-in-law Yoshiko Totsuka. “It fills my heart and makes me wake up every single day ready to serve them with a smile and the best dishes here at Mixtitos.”
So with her sister-in-law Yoshiko and other members of her family helping to make Mixtitos Kitchen work, there is faith in a success story brewing on the corner of Samuell and Grand.
“I am a great believer,” said Jose Luis. “So God works in mysterious ways. And he points you to different people. And now we’re here with great expectations and great things that we can create and that’s great. These feelings are amazing.”
And hope you will find the food exceptional too, as an American dream takes shape … one croque monsieur at a time.
“This is a dream job. We stay together. We get stronger,” said Karina Totsuka. “Más unidos. Más fuertes!”
“I have no words to explain how wonderful it is. It is so beautiful,” said Jose Luis.