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'This Apron Is Our Badge Of Honor'

Jorge Cortez and his son, Pete, talked bout the history of their family restaurant business.

“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.

Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.