We want to thank you for supporting us through all these years. You are what puts a smile on our face and keeps us going to serve up authentic Cali-Mex street food. We want to step back for a second and tell the story of our founder to shine some light on the recognition he deserves. One of three founding fathers of Hampton Roads Taquerias.
Our story starts with Raul Ramos! Raul is from Tizapan el Alto Jalsico, a small town in Mexico’s countryside. From a very young age Raul knew he wanted to progress out of his poverty-stricken town. He made the bold move to immigrate to the United States at the age of 17, where he found himself in East-Los Angles, California in the early 90’s. There he took whatever job he could land. From cleaning, baking, ironing clothes, to construction all while living out of a car. At the same time LA’s Hispanic population was growing. Along with it people opened Taquerias, Latino Bakeries, Markets and so much more. Raul never really left home in a sense. He was amazed by the integration of Mexican food in LA. His and his now wife’s favorite place to frequent was no other than King Taco itself. After 10 years and as the 90’s came to a close, Raul was settling down with a second child and his adventures in East Los Angeles were over.
After briefly moving back to Mexico for a year, Raul found himself in Chesapeake, Virginia. Here Raul found a stable job in the shipyards, but most importantly a new home to raise his family. It was here where Raul felt really culture shocked. Not a Latino in sight and no one spoke any Spanish. Most horrific of all, no tacos or authentic Mexican food. While many other Tex-Mex Restaurants might have been booming during this time, there was a void for Authentic Street Tacos, Carne Asada, Al Pastor, Menudo, Pozole etc. From very early on Raul had his sights on filling that void. He knew the moment wasn’t right. He patiently waited as he raised his family. As another 10+ years passed, Raul found himself increasingly surrounded with Hispanic people in his place of work and social life. Raul knew the time was here when his coworkers started requesting if they could buy his wife’s burritos she made Raul for lunch. Maria would make up to 100 burritos a day for Raul to take to work and sell. In 2009 Raul Finally Launched La Hacienda! Not a taqueria, but a Latino market… He wasn’t confident enough in a taqueria quite yet.
Finally, in 2013 Raul found a perfect location and Taqueria La Hacienda opened, but not as we know it today. An extreme hole in the wall place with only 5 small tables. Non-working heater or A/C, & a door that would fling open with the wind when it rained flooding the inside with rain water. With all these disadvantages for almost a full year Raul struggled with sales. Not only that, he was still working full time at the shipyard and once he got off work there, he would take a quick shower and head to work at the taqueria. Maria would help in the kitchen, his son Juan would wait tables after school, and his daughter Cynthia would work all her college breaks from VCU.
But it was something about the seasoning and the homemade dishes that kept slowly attracting people to the little 5 table hole in the wall. By 2016 Raul had lines out the door, and even people leaving because it was too busy. Raul made the bold decision to buy out the bar next door. It was this time as well when Cynthia was about to graduate college and Juan graduated high school. With the renovations a modern take was needed.
From Raul’s inspiration and his children’s frequent trips to California to visit family, La Hacienda was the FIRST in the 757 to start offer California classic like Carne Asada Fries, the California Burrito & the Elote like it is sold on the streets of LA. His kids now continue to innovate and create new concepts and dishes as they expand on their father’s legacy with 5 more La Haciendas across Hampton roads and Richmond.