The signal advocated equality and social justice, however some discovered it too politically appropriate and wrote letters to the proprietor, Alfonso Medina. As an alternative of taking it down, Medina positioned a a lot larger one utilizing solely 4 phrases and by chance began a motion about love, tacos and politics.
“I simply meant to reply with good humor,” mentioned Medina, proprietor of La Carreta Mexican Grill.
La Carreta has been serving Mexican meals for 20 years in Marshalltown, a small neighborhood about 50 miles northeast of Des Moines. Medina took over the household restaurant enterprise a few years in the past. His mother and father migrated from Mexico greater than three a long time in the past and he was born in Iowa.
“Made in Mexico, delivered within the US,” he mentioned.
The restaurant has stayed open in the course of the pandemic and its workers stayed on the job since Iowa is one in every of a handful of states that by no means shut down companies utterly.
“We have been fortunate to have nice assist from the neighborhood,” Medina mentioned.
Taking a ‘courageous’ political stand
However issues received attention-grabbing in August, when Medina positioned a small black signal with rainbow letters on the entrance of the parking zone that mentioned: “We Consider Black lives matter, No human is unlawful, Science is actual, Girls’s rights are human rights,” and some different issues.
“I did not assume there was something dangerous,” he mentioned, admitting that his spouse known as him “courageous” for putting the register entrance of the enterprise.
Not lengthy after, his social media feed lit up with criticism in regards to the signal and he even acquired a couple of letters. However one such letter caught his consideration. It was typed with no return tackle or signature.
To Medina, it was clear the letter got here from a buyer. They addressed him by identify and accused him of caving in to political correctness, however additionally they known as him “a leftist Marxist.”
Whoever wrote the letter mentioned they solely noticed the signal after leaving the restaurant, spending greater than $100 and leaving a “beneficiant tip.”
The letter additionally has a handwritten half expressing disappointment La Carreta determined to show an indication “that insults and disrespects Christianity and America.”
That is when Medina, who says he takes issues in stride, posted it to social media.
However it was the 4 phrases on the finish of each posts that went viral: “No Love, No Tacos.”
And the phrase took off, turning into the brand new slogan of the restaurant.
“I’m somebody who takes one thing unfavorable and tries to show it into one thing 10 instances extra constructive,” he mentioned. “If they do not need us, they need to align their beliefs and their feedback with the meals they eat.”
Turing an indication right into a motion
It did not take lengthy for individuals to reply, even requesting T-shirts with the slogan.
Maria Gonzalez, who calls herself La Carretta’s primary fan, applauds the restaurateur.
“We dwell in a rustic the place we must be united and take into consideration our neighbors,” she mentioned.
Medina did what any savvy businessman would do: He copyrighted the slogan and began promoting T-shirts and different branded merchandise to assist fund a scholarship for the area people faculty.
And he paid for a big billboard displaying “No Love, No Tacos” close to his restaurant that dwarfs the signal that initially brought about the controversy.
Medina did not cease there and determined to make use of the slogan to encourage individuals to vote within the upcoming election.
He’s no stranger to politics, in the course of the current major season, some Democratic hopefuls made a marketing campaign cease at La Carreta, together with Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro and Tom Steyer.
He says he would welcome any Republican candidate whose values align along with his personal.
La Carreta is a busy place, the 2 cooks within the kitchen work acrobatics within the small area, rigorously dashing tacos, nachos, enchiladas and different Mexican meals specialties to their loyal clients.
La Carreta even gained nationwide consideration final 12 months when The Meals Community named its “California Burrito” among the best in the USA. “It is nothing actually sophisticated,” Medina mentioned of its primary elements like rice, beans and avocado plus a selection of beef, rooster or pork. In fact, you can too make it vegetarian.
Piggybacking on the recognition of the slogan, Medina created a brand new web site the place he’s advocating to make Election Day a nationwide vacation. He’s training what he’s preaching.
“My aim is to make the elections as simply as potential,” Medina says. “I’m going to shut on Election Day, and never solely pay my workers, however I’m going to go and volunteer on the polls.”