Miguel “Mikey” Reyes Cruz: 25 years behind the bar at El Rincon

Miguel “Mikey” Reyes Cruz: 25 years behind the bar at El Rincon

“I’m impressed to be higher each single day,” El Rincon bartender Miguel “Mikey” Reyes Cruz mentioned by means of translator Roxana Cardiel de Niz. “As a result of for me, each single day is a brand new likelihood to be taught and I believe that so long as I can proceed to do that, then I ought to do it as if it have been my first day … as a result of for me tomorrow possibly received’t exist.”

Rincon del Tlaquepaque, or El Rincon, first opened its doorways in April 1976, and has a declare to being the “oldest family-owned and operated restaurant in Sedona.”

“Over time, turnover with their 25 staff has been small,” Uncover Tlaquepaque journal wrote of the restaurant.

Amongst these, 63-year outdated Cruz has been mixing drinks at El Rincon virtually each day for the final 25 years.

“(Cruz) does all the pieces from scratch,” shift supervisor Ivan Benitez mentioned. “He’s additionally doing an impressive job making all of the mixes, making all of the drinks, and ensuring that it’s all home made. He does his private contact on virtually all the pieces.” Agave syrup, for instance. “He hates the stuff (and) he doesn’t use it,” Benitez mentioned.

“I’ve recognized him for greater than 5 years, he’s pleasant, he loves to assist,” line prepare dinner Armando Juan mentioned. “He’s a very nice man, we prefer to have enjoyable working. (When) we’ve got our Christmas get together (for El Rincon workers) we’ve got music and drinks and (Cruz is) the one making drinks too for us.”

Continuous self-improvement is a lesson that Cruz mentioned he took to coronary heart following the COVID-19 pandemic, and what he mentioned has stored him coming again to work at El Rincon for 1 / 4 of a century.

Miguel Cruz poses in entrance of the El Rincon on Wednesday, Nov 1. the place he has working working for 1 / 4 of a century. David Jolkovski/Larson Newspapers

“After the pandemic, I’ve realized that you simply  ought to solely reside for the day that you simply’re in,” Cruz mentioned. “Due to the pandemic, all the pieces shut down in the future to the following with out understanding that it was going to occur.”

Cruz spent his first 12 months on the restaurant bussing tables earlier than shifting over to bartending, which he’s now doing six days per week.

“Miguel is a really accountable particular person,” El Rincon supervisor Maria “Chaly” Ortiz Mendedhall mentioned. “(He’s) by no means missed a day of labor. He labored seven days per week for years. We virtually compelled him to start out taking a break day, as a result of he wanted a break and after the second week, he realized it was useful, he preferred it and he needs to maintain having a break day.”

“He’s solely not right here, like, half a shift,” Benitez mentioned. “Right this moment they gave him the entire break day, which is wonderful for him, he hardly ever will get that. However he’s comfortable to be right here. They don’t have one other bartender as a result of he’s very happy to be right here, as a result of they’re so tight-knit. Often on his time without work, you’ll see him hanging round along with his entire household, which is actually cute. It will likely be like six or seven of them and they’re simply chilling right here.”

Whereas Cruz mentioned he enjoys all of Sedona, he would relatively be operating by means of the pink rocks than strolling. Since he jogs as many days as he works, Cruz’s favourite routes are State Route 179 and the three miles from Tlaquepaque to the Chapel of the Holy Cross each Wednesday.

“Miguel could be very wholesome and we need to see him at El Rincon for a few years to return,” Mendedhall mentioned.

Miguel Cruz strikes a pose in celebration of finishing the RunSedona 5k in February 2019.
Photograph courtesy Miguel Cruz

“I take part within the (Sedona) Marathon,” Cruz mentioned. “I like sports activities so much. I prefer to run as a result of it’s my favourite pastime. I run within the morning at 6:30 a.m. I’ve been fortunate in the way in which that folks come into the restaurant and say, ‘Hey, I noticed you run.’ I do know that I’m outdated and I don’t need to get harm. However I do additionally like soccer.”

A typical break day for him concerned operating seven miles, adopted by chores and meal preparations. Cruz is gluten-free and eschews soda and something with sugar.

“(My) favourite meals to organize are Mexican meals, like Mexican beef steak I could make at dwelling as a result of I prefer to prepare dinner, too,” Cruz mentioned, including that barbecuing along with his household for his birthday alongside the river holds a particular place in his coronary heart.

“I really like my work (and) the job, I love to do what I do and I do it with pleasure and this restaurant is like my second dwelling,” Cruz mentioned. “Being a bartender is my job and I like to do it, I prefer to serve the purchasers. We’ve quite a lot of native prospects which have recognized me for years. We even have prospects which might be multi-generational. First got here the mother and father that at the moment are deceased, and now the youngsters come.”

Cruz mentioned one of many issues that almost all excites him is seeing returning prospects and attending to expertise part of their lives as snapshots over time.

“I’m excited as a result of I do know they arrive right here for our specialties and the meals is sweet,” Cruz mentioned. “This restaurant has been round for such a very long time, so it’s virtually like we really feel like household. I’ve realized from their tales … they inform me how their 12 months went … and once they come right here they’re comfortable to see me: ‘Oh, Miguel is right here.’”

Cruz famous that prospects typically ask if he’s nonetheless operating, which motivates him to maintain up his routine.

“All of the locals love him, he’s superior,” Benitez mentioned. “He makes their drinks and takes half their order earlier than they even sit down. He’s tremendous attentive, a really arduous employee.”

That drive was what first led him from his birthplace in Puebla and his hometown of Mexico Metropolis to Los Angeles in 1986.

“I used to be searching for a chance to have the ability to advance in life so I might work for my household. That was my inspiration to be on this nation,” Cruz mentioned.

In Los Angeles, Cruz offered shrimp cocktails. He would finally relocate to Sedona to affix his

two brothers.

“I divorced in 2003,” Cruz defined. ”With my first spouse I’ve my 5 kids (Sandra, Martha, Hector, Francisco and Jose), and with my present spouse (Feben Cruz) we had my daughter (Marilyn) and my grandson (Michael) that I view as one in all my sons. That’s why I’ve so many kids. I met (Feben) as a result of we’re from the identical city. I met her once we have been younger however nothing occurred. After I used to be divorced, I noticed her once more in Mexico Metropolis as a result of we have been household associates … (finally) we determined to reside collectively.”

Feben Cruz would additionally go on to work at El Rincon for nearly a decade.

“Everybody simply works tremendous comfortably collectively,” Benitez mentioned. “We’ve had the identical staff for years, primarily with Miguel and the workforce we’ve got round him. So it’s actually arduous for individuals to butt heads … After we do get somebody (new), it’s somebody that you could anticipate to go away ultimately, like they changed a highschool child that was working a bunch or busser place. However for probably the most half the individuals who work right here … they’re right here for good.”

“I need to thank God and my bosses have giving me the arrogance (and) the belief to work on this restaurant,” Cruz mentioned. “Once I got here to this restaurant, I by no means imagined that I might be right here for 25 years. Once I began right here my solely intention was to start out working. However thank God I’ve been working on this restaurant for 25 years.”

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