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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.


Isela Juarez, Christopher Santiago, Victor Santiago

Tacos El Nevado

Victor Santiago is the main proprietor of the taquerias (there is one on South Boulevard in Charlotte and another in Florida). His wife, Isela Juarez, and sister-in-law, Vianey Juarez, are the main cooks. Cousins Nereyda Mali and Christopher Santiago are managers and cashiers. The interview discusses the biculturalism present in their family dynamic—from Oaxacan immigrants to US-born children visiting Mexico—and how that translates to the restaurant and the community it serves. Mr. (Victor) Santiago explains that he comes from a farmworking family, and he started picking citrus in Florida before finding his way to restaurant entrepreneurship. Ms. (Isela) Juarez describes the culinary traditions of Oaxaca and the way she translates those into the Tacos El Nevado menu, which includes special cheese (quesillo) and tortilla (tlayuda) imported from Oaxaca. Mr. (Christopher) Santiago speaks about what it was like to move to Oaxaca as a youth for a few years. Both Mr. (Christopher) Santiago and his cousin Ms. Mali talk about being in charge as the younger generation of American-born family, and, along with Mr. (Victor) Santiago and Ms. (Isela) Juarez, discuss the immigrant population—including their own family and their clientele.

Date of interview:

Victoria Bouloubasis

Peter Taylor

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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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