Jose Garza loved talking to people. And drinking good tequila.
Jose Garza loved talking to people. And drinking good tequila.

Happy birthday, Conejito

Last night, I accidentally attended a birthday party for former owner of Conejito’s Place restaurant, Jose Garza. Garza -- who went by the nickname "Conejito" -- died on Oct. 7 and yesterday, he would have turned 76.

At about 7 p.m. last night, I stopped in for what I refer to as "Mexican comfort food" and margaritas and found a room full of green and red balloons. The bartender, Lala, was offering up shots of Centenario -- a high-end tequila that was Garza’s favorite. She poured one for Garza, too, and put a lit candle in the full shot glass. Then she played "Happy Birthday" on the jukebox about 10 times.

I have been a regular diner at Conejito’s since I was a kid, and I spent numerous evenings as an adult sitting at the bar with Garza, talking mostly about Milwaukee, family and food. I appreciated the chance to toast him one more time.

Talkbacks

tmaxx | Dec. 16, 2010 at 8:14 a.m. (report)

One of the best restaurants in Milwaukee. I miss it since I moved away 20 years ago. Used to dine there regularly when I worked at Ron Cuzner's Jazz Cellar!

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