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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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Cesar Reyes

El Sol Azteca Restaurant

Cesar Reyes was born in Oaxaca, Mexico on February 6, 1979, and moved to Southaven, Mississippi in 2004 to join his family working in the restaurant business. In 2014, he opened El Sol Azteca after over ten years in the Mexican restaurant industry. Reyes describes how he began as a dishwasher and worked his way up to manager before opening up his own restaurant. Additionally, Reyes describes life in Mexico, adapting to life in the south and preserving Mexican cultural practices and tradition, and the challenges running a restaurant.


Cesar Reyes nació en Oaxaca, México el 6 de febrero de 1979, y se trasladó a Southaven, Mississippi en 2004 para unirse a su familia trabajando en el negocio de restaurantes. Después de más de diez años en la industria de restaurantes mexicanos, hace tres años él abrió El Sol Azteca. Reyes describe cómo comenzó lavando platos y alcanzó a ser gerente antes de abrir su propio restaurante. Además, Reyes describe la vida en México, la adaptación a la vida en el sur, la preservación de las prácticas y tradiciones culturales mexicanas, y los retos de tener un restaurante.

Date of interview:

Simone Delerme

Simone Delerme & Chelsea Loper

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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