In the voice of Café Tacuba

Just over a hundred years ago, when there was no gastronomy career or avant-garde cooking programs, or even television for that matter, Don Dionisio Mollinedo or "Papá Nicho" as I called him, decided to share his taste for Mexican delicacies with the people of the capital and try his luck by giving me my own life, hoping in return that, eventually, I would give him something to eat and live on.


Too much has happened since then, millions of people have crossed my doors and sat in my chairs. Today, my walls speak in the tongues of every foreigner who has visited me from distant corners of the planet; nevertheless, I have made them feel at home. But above all, my walls speak a language that everyone understands and is part of any culture in the world: cooking.


A series of events, people, a touch of chance, and the determination of my creators led me four generations later to this birthday, the most important one in my journey. I turn a century but I am not tired, in fact I feel more alive than ever. I turn a century but I maintain the same flavor. Listening to so many talks and seeing a number of smiles has kept me strong. All those people have been a part of me and I of their memories.

My waitresses, cooks, captains, and head waitresses are my gears, my engine, without them my character would cease. My customers are my blessing, filling my halls with vibrant music. And this 17th-century mansion where I was fortunately born, stands after four centuries; its ancient walls are my temple and have carried me alive through time.

I am proud to have been the pretext for so many encounters, family gatherings, romances, moments and to be part of the life of our historical center. I have seen presidents, thinkers, artists, writers, singers, politicians dip my sweet bread rolls in their coffee with milk, and in general, my best audience, everyone with an appetite for Mexico, eager to relive the feeling of tasting the dishes from their homes, from their grandmothers. It is precisely this feeling that I evoke in my guests, which sets me apart from the rest and has given me the best of my attributes: my essence, which has enveloped thousands of diners in a timeless space. One surrounded by beautiful murals of Mexican gastronomy and priceless paintings of historical figures, all of them from different but memorable times that I saw pass by, one better than the other and on several occasions, the nostalgia this causes me was expressed in the dishes made by my cherished cooks; I know my people can feel it, I can see it in their faces

Several decades ago I was in fashion, but today, the authenticity of my recipes, the aromas, the talavera, and the place itself have turned me into a classic. They bring my guests the past back, momentarily returning to them the longing for my austere beginnings, and without a doubt, they make that nostalgia sprout. But I always enliven the afternoon and reveal that the "now" is as good as the "before," letting colored lights pass through my leaded windows, and offering soft sugar bread with my waitresses in impeccable white bows.

Sometimes people ask me: how did you get to this age?, what's your secret? And now that I think about it, I don't have any secrets. The grinding stone, the griddle, and the mortar are not a secret, on the contrary, they are a sign of my respect for our customs and our ingredients, unique in the world and treasured by so many. Love, dedication, and the pleasure of serving are also no secret. I could almost assure that for those reasons I have reached this point today, my first century. I have collected thousands of anecdotes since then, they have been etched into my memory like with a burin.

I would love to tell you about the ancient occupants of this large house, when the nuns served the devout at the Divine Savior hospital, about my beginnings and my limited menu of fruity atoles, desserts, bread, and coffee, or about how people dressed and the words they used. About my weddings and events, about the conversations I heard from philosophers and rulers. About when I witnessed a murder in one of my chairs and couldn't close my eyes, about when I suffered third-degree burns and felt the affection of my people to come back from the soot and ashes, to please the most whimsical passersby of this city. I would love to elaborate on all that, but it will have to be another time, since it's almost 8 in the morning and soon I must open my doors, but not without first telling you something about what happens at these hours.

In the mornings, they place desserts and fruit in my display cases. The shine of the syrup beckons the most varied and eclectic clientele to come in. They have breakfast and lunch daily to leave satisfied for work or to explore "downtown", of course, after letting their laughter echo through my vaults. They inject me with energy and have shaped my personality over the years, something not every restaurant acquires easily.

Por las noches en cambio, sin la música de la estudiantina, acompañada de platos, cubiertos y familiares voces, se siente una paz absoluta y bien merecida.

At night, however, without the music of the student musical group, accompanied by dishes, cutlery, and familiar voices, one feels an absolute and well-deserved peace.

In our Historic Center everything is so quiet, that the only thing that can be heard is the creaking of my wood and the fall of each drop of coffee extract into the glass carafe that lulls me and marks my seconds like a clock. At these hours, the nun Clarisa looks after my belongings and gives me peace to fall asleep. But today I have insomnia, and I saw the night turn into day...

A hundred years have made me reflect on everything that has happened, on what I represent today, and I feel deeply fulfilled and grateful. Not many can talk about a journey like this, a journey that could not have been better. A hundred years sound easy, but they are a well-deserved achievement of those who are and have been part of me.

I hope to continue chatting with you a hundred years more, and my stained-glass windows fog up with tears. For now, I must leave you because I've become sentimental, and my beans are burning.

I hope they let me keep breathing history and listening to its voices; it has been, and will continue to be an honor to have them at my tables.

Thank you for everything…