Family-run RIA Market attracts diverse clientele downtown

In the middle of tall Downtown buildings, well hidden is a grocery store that is the only market in the area to serve area residents. RIA Market is a locally owned business run by the De La Torre family. Located across the street from Café Central and near San Jacinto Plaza at 204 N. Oregon St., the store sells fresh produce, grocery items, Mexican products and cooked food to go. “What we sell the most is the subs, tortas and sandwiches,” said Rosa De La Torre, one of the owners. De La Torre says they are busiest at lunchtime when people are looking for something to eat.

The Green Ingredient presents healthy plates packed with flavor

The Green Ingredient – nestled on the bottom floor of the Chase building in Downtown El Paso – is a unique restaurant that offers a large number of dishes with fresh and green ingredients. Jacqueline Cordova says what sets her restaurant apart is the not-so-normal cuisine. Customers won’t find live octopus or a moldy corn delicacy, she said the items on her menu are a healthy alternative. Food varies from quinoa pancakes with yogurt and fresh berries to a Feel Good Falafel and a Mediterranean salad. Cordova started the restaurant after losing a friend, she said.

Cafe Central thrives as El Paso’s downtown regenerates

Downtown revitalization has brought many changes to the central part of the city. The construction has brought street closures, orange barrels and headaches for businesses, visitors and motorists. But the renovations and demolitions haven’t kept one local business from flourishing. “We definitely increased in business,” said Café Central Assistant Manager Juan Franco. “ The last two years, business has gone up 45 percent.”

The restaurant is open six days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It’s busiest days are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and their busiest time of day is after 5 in the afternoon.

San Jacinto Plaza has long history as El Paso’s gathering place

Newly renovated San Jacinto Plaza has been a gathering place for more than 100 years as El Pasoans have congregated there for holiday festivities, to listen to live bands and recently for memorials. “It really is the epitome of what a public square is,” said Robert Diaz, El Paso County Historical Society spokesman and historian. The Plaza was conceived in 1881 and built in 1883. In 2015, San Jacinto Plaza was designated a Lone Star Legacy Park, the highest honor that can be given to a Texas park because this recognizes that it has special historical prominence and has endured the test of time. As recorded by the Texas State Historical Association the first time in history that the American and Mexican presidents met was in San Jacinto Plaza, President Taft wanted to meet with President Diaz in order to continue American investments in Mexico, President Diaz accepted the invitation to regain lost popularity and remind the people he still had firm control of Mexico’s affairs despite his age.

La nueva estación de camiones da una experiencia más cómoda a ambos lados de la frontera

EL PASO — La estación de camiones que antes se localizaba en San Jacinto Plaza ha tenido mucho de qué hablar a causa de su mudanza hacia el sur a un punto mas cercano al

puente Santa Fe. Se especulaba que los usuarios de autobuses de esta ciudad fronteriza tendrían una reacción negativa a la mudanza, pero personas entrevistadas expresaron muchas opiniones positivas sobre este cambio y sobre la nueva plaza. La nueva estacion de está situada en el cruce de las calles Santa Fe y El Paso, unas cuatro cuadras de San Jacinto Plaza. Dice Antonio Flores, guardia de seguridad de la plaza, que ¨es mejor que se mudara ya que así la gente tendría que caminar y eso le ayuda a su salud porque hay muchas personas

que padecen de obesidad y estas personas quieren todo a la mano.¨

Aunqe muchos estaban de acuerdo que es bueno caminar cuatro o cinco cuadras más para poder llegar a la estación donde pueden tomar el camión para ir a su trabajo, su

escuela, su hogar, pero la única opinión que todos compmartieron fue que estaría mejor que los camiones tuvierna horarios más flexibles y versátiles. Para la gente que sale tarde de trabajar o de la escuela por alguna actividad tienen que esperar más tiempo para tomar el camión ya que no hay muchos horarios en la tarde.

As Holocaust survivors age and die, their stories must remain alive

Out of the 30 original Holocaust survivors who resettled in El Paso several decades ago, just a handful remains alive. As these survivors reach the end of their lives, many wonder how future generations will learn their stories and history.  

“Somebody asked me, ‘Tell me, is it true, that there was a concentration camp?’” said Holocaust survivor David Kaplan recently during an interview at the EL Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center. Kaplan, about to turn 88, says he knows of only four remaining survivors still alive in El Paso.

“Young people now don’t know that there was such a thing,” Kaplan said, adding that it’s possible that in the future, “there will only be one or two lines about it in history.”  

The retired El Paso businessman, born in Lithuania, endured four years as a teenager in concentration camps in Lithuania and later at Dachau in Germany.

Holocaust museum education program careful in approaching subject with young children

Children only above sixth grade should attend the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center because they will understand the Holocaust better than youngsters, the Holocaust education director said. “The gallery here is geared toward sixth graders and above,” Education Director Jamie Flores said. “So below that, we believe the maturity level of a young child it’s not advanced enough for the depth of the Holocaust,” Flores said. Although Flores said she believes students should wait until they are older, she does see some younger children visiting the museum with their parents. “Generally before (a tour) I warn students about what parts are graphic,” Flores said.

El Paso’s grand dame to be renovated as convention hotel, as a nearby boutique lodging strikes a modern chord

The 100-year-old Camino Real Hotel is about to receive a major facelift after a $70 million sale, a year after the introduction of another hotel that owners hope will become part of the downtown landscape. The Camino Real was built in 1912 by Zach T White alongside the local architectural firm Trost and Trost, for $1.5 million at the time. Its classical architecture is what keeps tourists ringing the hotel bell. The elegance of the lobby is certain to be noticed, as are the Tiffany glass dome in its variety of blue hues, multiple glass chandeliers and polished marble floors. “You can see a lot of the features [from 1912] in architecture back in the day,” said Paul Dillard, a visitor from Fort Worth.

Downtown El Paso shops outfit quince celebrations with tradition and style

EL PASO – This border city’s downtown shopping district has become a flourishing quinceñera Mecca as girls turning 15 and their families flock to buy lavish party dresses and accessories to celebrate their transition into womanhood. Outfitting quinceañeras, one of the most important celebrations among Hispanics, has become a booming business here where 82 percent of the population is Hispanic. “Customers are very faithful to this location. There’s a lot of traffic coming from everywhere. There are even people coming from outside of Texas,” said Yuridia Villagran, co-owner of Imperial Real Boutique.

Holocaust survivor’s first act of freedom was to embrace forgiveness

When someone has “put you through hell” it’s often hard to forgive. But Holocaust survivor David Kaplan, who spent four years in a concentration camp, has made forgiving Hitler and the Nazis look easy. “I stop, I relax and then I don’t hate them anymore,” Kaplan, 88, said recently in an emotional interview at the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center. Born on July 20, 1928 in Kaunas, Lithuania, the retired businessman is one of about 35 Holocaust survivors who settled in El Paso after the Second World War and one of just a few still alive in El Paso. When the Nazis and Adolph Hitler rose to power in Germany when he was a child in Lithuania, he and his parents and siblings were forced to move into a small house in the Slobodka Ghetto.

Exterior Mac's Place restaurant

Cajun meets the border on the menu at Mac’s Place

EL PASO — From steaming jambalaya to blackened salmon, Mac’s Place introduced Cajun-inspired cuisine to El Paso’s downtown dining scene. The Louisiana style restaurant, co-owned by Gregory Wayne and Gelaine Apuan, offers an alternative to the usual Hispanic food, with their collection of homemade spices. “It’s a different kind of spice that people aren’t used to here, people are used to jalapeno or siracha,” Apuan said. “It’s a lip burning, oh-my-goodness spice where oh, I just can’t stop eating it.”

Like other entrepreneurs in the El Paso area, Apuan and her partner decided to roll the dice and open up Mac’s place on the East side in 2012. After a few years in the business they decided to expand the restaurant to their newest location downtown near San Jacinto Plaza and have now been operating that location for more than a year.

Reinvigorated San Jacinto Plaza draws crowd to downtown El Paso

After three years spent renovating the San Jacinto Plaza, the heart of downtown has officially captured everyone’s imagination once again. El Paso’s oldest area of the city has now become one of its newest attractions. What used to be just “Los Lagartos” is now something more than a park that many years ago displayed as many as seven live alligators at one time. “It’s really nice, there’s a lot of shade for people to sit around, walk and enjoy their time here,” Estrella Gonzalez said. “Today me and my friend came to a Pokemon hunt with the new Pokemon Go game.”
Pokemon Go is a popular and rapidly growing mobile device game that focuses on finding characters in various places and locations in a city or community.