San Miguel does not have exclusive places for LGBT+ couples; not because the community is discriminated against, but simply because it has not happened. Some that were, like the Cien Ángeles bar, closed due to various conditions ranging from lack of permits to low attendance. Some still remember the bar on Mesones, in the space that Mala now occupies. In their anecdotes there is the comment: “if you went to the Cien Angeles, there were three people: the bartender, the one at the box office, and you.” Then they laugh. On the subject of bars, there were other spaces that the community began to take over, but later, due to regulations, they closed. Truth is, probably this lack of spaces has made almost all places in the city embrace the LGBT + community.
Obviously there will be those who do not recommend a space due to the bad experience they have had. Although there are trainings through the Tourist Council, or the Hotel Association, it seems that the issue has persisted, but not so much. Derogatory (private) comments are frequent, especially from men, when a homosexual couple is seen on the street holding hands. But if a member of the community wants to feel comfortable, one of the places that embraces them at one hundred percent, and openly, is Muro Café. This, among others.
Treat others as you would want to be treated
Café MuRo is a totally gay-friendly place. Atencion spoke with the owners: Gerardo Arteaga, and Carlos Muro. They indicated that their space is a restaurant open to all. “We not only offer special treatment but we also give equality. We believe that we are all human beings, and each one lives his life as he wants; and it is not good that if one discriminates, especially in a city as multicultural and advanced as San Miguel.”
In fact, they recalled that some time ago they learned that in a well-known establishment in the center of the city a homosexual couple was asked to leave the place for kissing in public. “When we found out about this, we thought: it is everyone’s job to help end this scourge of hatred, because we all work to live, we all have the right to live in an environment of inclusion, respect and protection,” commented Arteaga and Muro.
They also remarked that businesses in the city must now take the initiative to “openly say that everyone who lives and visits the city deserves the same protection and access to security that San Miguel offers.” As for the restaurant they manage, they have resolved to adopt as a code that it is their responsibility to treat all people equally, be open and accept everyone, regardless of race, ideology, religion, or sexual orientation. Our golden rule: “Treat others the same way you want to be treated.”
As part of the contribution of Café MuRo to the San Miguel LGBTQR + community (according to Muro and Arteaga) “we can say that we are very proud that the Colectivo 41 of San Miguel de Allende was practically born in one of the dining rooms of our business, and that throughout our 11 years of history we have always been there to enthusiastically support the community of which we are a part.”
They continued: “As owners of Café MuRo so far we have been fortunate because we have never experienced any discrimination. We believe that in the vast majority of the San Miguel culinary world you can be whoever you want to be and love whoever you want. We firmly believe that up to now our orientation does not define who we are as people or entrepreneurs.”
About the location and what to eat
Café MuRo is located in the middle of El Obraje, one of the oldest and most traditional neighborhoods of San Miguel. The building is inspired by contemporary Mexican architecture with large glass windows and natural light. The distinctive feature of the building is the terrace because it gives visitors a unique view of the city. Another plus is the old, forged steel aqueduct that, decades ago, supplied water to the machines of the then textile factory of La Aurora, which came from the Las Colonias dam.
“At the end of the day, at Café MuRo our cooking style reflects the ancient Mexican tradition of combining unique and fresh ingredients to produce unforgettable flavors,” say Juan Carlos and Gerardo who, interact with visitors directly every day.
Among the dishes they offer, several follow a family recipe. Los Mojados, for example, are wheat flour rolls, dipped in black bean sauce, and stuffed with pork in pibil. The special touch is a topping of ranchero cheese and sour cream. They also have Doña Chela style pork (named in honor of Carlos’s mother) which consists of pieces of pork fried and cooked in guajillo chili sauce, accompanied by other secret ingredients, and beans from the pot. All of this contributes to giving the dish a flavor “to lick your fingers.”
This restaurant is the only one in San Miguel that serves Caldo de Zorra (also known as Capón). It is a traditional dish in Guanajuato, and it is nothing more than a hot soup, which uses the xoconostle as a base, and then other ingredients are added: potato, a variety of dried chilies, green tomato, and a topping of black beans from the pot. There are also the stuffed gorditas with pico de gallo, black beans, cooked nopales, and queso fresco, topped with a delicious chile sauce.
Carlos and Gerardo conclude “we humbly believe that Café MuRo is not [just] another restaurant in the rich culinary scene of San Miguel, it has become a refuge where our culinary traditions and cultural heritage have become a meeting place and enjoyment for the people from all over the world without distinction.
We know that we like good food and we pride ourselves on being able to serve and enjoy it every day. We look forward to everyone with open arms and a smile to say with all our hearts. Enjoy your meal!”
It all started in 1945
It was a Holy Tuesday in 1945, when the first restaurant—Bugambilia—opened in San Miguel de Allende. It was from the Arteaga family. The specialty was Mexican food and the concept was so successful that in a few years the Mesón de Buganvilia was opened and then shortly after, Buganvilia Dos. Gerardo Arteaga grew up surrounded by the cuisines, colors and traditional flavors of this land. He is a San Miguel restaurant owner who inherited the taste not only for customer service and attention but also for the food of this country.
Arteaga shared his story and that of Muro Café with us. He remembered that when he was studying in high school in Guanajuato, he wanted to escape the smell of mango that was in the rooms of the care home where he lived. His refuge was the kitchen of “Doña Chole” in the same house. Although he did not like cooking, he began to fall in love with Mexican culinary art, the mixtures and flavors. He never saw himself as a restaurant owner in spite of the fact that his family told him to study restaurant and tourism instead of law.
At Tulane University, Arteaga was a foreigner and was elected president of the foreign student community. His first idea was “to organize a contest of typical food from each country to raise funds.” He cooked a mole “a mixture of many chili peppers, which was everything, except mole.” This he later perfected. He returned to Mexico, practiced law and later wanted to have his own restaurant. Politics is not alien to him, he is president of the National Action Party, and he has participated in the City Council.
The first “fit” karaoke in the city was opened by Arteaga with his current life partner, Carlos Muro. When he sold it, he wanted to buy the family restaurant Buganvilia, but this did not happen. Instead, he said that life took him to the right place to find the perfect space to materialize that idea of having a restaurant. Beyond taste, he wanted the restaurant to “transport you to the past and the origin; to lead diners to remember their ancestors and their seasoning.” He wanted to offer breakfast all day. The space awaited him in Loreto. It was on that street where Muro Café opened, and the place where the first customer was the Reverend Farley W. Wheelwright and his wife Virginia. The place was what they dreamed of. People from politics—local, state, and national, from the media and from the international community loved and marveled at the restaurant. For Carlos and Gerardo, they were not just another number, they were people who were looking for “good treatment, attention, quality and sufficient food” at reasonable prices.
That “baby” restaurant operated for six years and five months, then it spread its wings to take flight, to grow its service and quality, to pamper people and offer them an experience they will not forget, Arteaga indicated.
Location: Cerrada de San Gabriel 1, El Obraje.
Hours: Thursday to Tuesday 9am-4pm
Phone: 415 152 6341
web page: www.cafemuro.com
Café MuRo is proud to provide a setting where food, inclusion and service are part of its daily. El Universal called it: “The Cathedral of the Chilaquiles in Mexico.” Recently, The Boston Globe named it one of the restaurants to visit in San Miguel. Since 2011, Tripadvisor has consecutively awarded their Certificate of Excellence, recently inducting it into the Hall of Fame for Certificates of Excellence.