Since 1966, Las Águilas restaurant has been a benchmark for Mexican snacks in the Historic Center of the city of Querétaro, where personalities from journalism and politics have tasted at this site commanded by Mr. Paulino Águila Uribe – who died in 2019 – and Mrs. Araceli Martínez González, who formed a family business where children and grandchildren now dedicate themselves to this gastronomic work.
Queretanos by origin and for generations, the marriage of the Águila Martínez forged their path based on work; Don Paulino learning cooking in the different places where he worked, such as in the kitchen area of the Gran Hotel de Querétaro, while Doña Araceli was on par, in the administrative part, who said she learned to cook on her own since Don Paulino he was somewhat jealous of his art; but she found out “by keeping an eye” and as she rightly commented “the student surpassed the teacher”.
THEY GREW “BASED ON WORK”
They started on Hidalgo street at number 196, but it was not until 1974 when they settled at number 206 of the same street, where they have remained until now. They sought to acquire land in their beginnings and from there generate their business, although financial difficulties prevented that purpose, until they obtained help from a character from this city, Don Carlos Pacheco, who in 1943 bought the first bakery in Querétaro, La Vienesa.
“Don Carlos Pacheco, the one from the La Vienesa bakery, was the one who told me about a piece of land at that time and as soon as there was an opportunity to buy, there was an old house and he did me the favor of lending me to complete the cost of the land. I He had saved ten thousand pesos and they asked us for 40, and well, he supported us a lot, he was a great man. We finished paying off that loan and took over the land and that’s how it started little by little,” he said.
He added that it took nearly six years to prepare the business they would have, “everything based on work.” Doña Araceli related that it was in 2001 when they officially stopped working, the moment of retirement. “My husband began to have a problem, since he was diabetic, in his little eyes and I told him to help me because I took him to Houston, Monterrey and then here. Then our daughter helped us and we arrived and she told us that he stayed and that we rested,” he recalled.
Susana, Silvia, Alicia, Rubén, Elsa, Blanca, Andrea and Araceli are the children of this couple. Silvia and Elsa are currently active; the first during the evening shift and the second in the morning. However, some of the grandchildren and nephews have studied to be chefs, and basically food is an essential part of this family.
THE QUERÉTARO OF THE SEVENTIES
“When we got here we already had a lot of customers. We started asking my mom for permission, because she lived near where the Diario de Querétaro was, on Escobedo street, and ahead of time she had a little store and we started making turkeys and enchiladas there. Mr. José Guadalupe Ramírez Álvarez met us. He grew up a lot with him because he recommended us. He hung out a lot with Rogelio Garfias Ruiz, director of Noticias, and when we were at number 196, which closed at 11 at night, they stayed there talking “, he detailed.
The then Governor Rafael Camacho Guzmán visited them, as well as the Guerra Malo family, mainly Braulio. He added that it was very common to have the place full of people, because Mexican food continues to be a benchmark in people’s tastes, which helped them to have a wide growth from the seventies, where they consolidated as a business, especially all for the seasoning and quality with which they offer their food.
“I think the most important thing is quality, because my mother has always taken care of that. They have never bought something cheaper just to save, they have always taken great care of that,” said Andrea Águila Martínez, the penultimate of the daughters of this marriage.
Las Águilas grew along with the city, surviving among the dozens of businesses that Queretans of yesteryear remember, but that ceased to exist when they went bankrupt or were co-opted by larger companies, including international ones, in an urban expansion of considerations, where they have managed to remain. even despite the new generations, new businesses and economically complicated contexts such as the crises of the 1980s, that of 1994 and even this Covid-19 pandemic.
“I FEEL PROUD AND SATISFIED”
Doña Araceli has known how to enjoy life, a philosophy that she shared with her husband. “Why money if we can’t enjoy it?” she says firmly. Las Águilas brought her family forward, gave work to many and as a result they went on vacation to the beach, to spas, even to Europe, when they had more time as retirees.
Work was always what sustained them and for what they are now. In the future, some members of the family have thought of opening a branch or some type of service. Meanwhile, Doña Araceli continues to enjoy life, her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and everything that was undertaken and that is now bearing fruit with a family and a table to eat, and the memory of Don Paulino, rooted in every part of this traditional site in the city of Querétaro.
“First of all, for us it is God’s blessing. The Lord allows us all this. In my case, being with the children, on the lookout, because I was the only one left. I feel proud and satisfied that everyone studied, that everyone is alive. Everything is fine,” he concluded.