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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

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Jose Rodriguez

West Coast Burrito

Jose Rodriguez is the General Manager of West Coast Burrito, located just outside of Memphis, Tennessee in the suburbs of Horn Lake, Mississippi. Rodriguez was born in Mexico City, but migrated first to Los Angeles. After living in California for 10 years, his family moved to Mississippi where they have resided since 2011. He and his wife decided to open the restaurant after moving to Mississippi and being unable to find a restaurant with authentic Mexican street tacos and cuisine within a forty-five minutes drive. They realized that the Latino population in Horn Lake and nearby Southaven, Mississippi was growing, and identified a need in the community. Their goal is to bring the Mexican food they know to the south, with an emphasis on seafood. The family’s goal is to expand to other locations. In the interview, Rodriguez compares life in California and Mississippi, acknowledging the growing population of Latinos and the role of the church in preserving traditions and customs in the South.


José Rodríguez es el Gerente General de West Coast Burrito, ubicado justo fuera de Memphis, Tennessee en los suburbios de Horn Lake, Mississippi. Rodríguez nació en la Ciudad de México, pero emigró primero a Los Ángeles. Después de vivir en California durante 10 años su familia se mudó a Mississippi, donde han vivido durante los últimos seis años. Él y su esposa decidieron abrir el restaurante después de mudarse a Mississippi y no poder encontrar un restaurante con tacos auténticos de la calle mexicanos y la cocina mexicana dentro de una distancia de cuarenta y cinco minutos en coche. Se dieron cuenta de que la población latina en Horn Lake y Southaven, Mississippi estaba creciendo, e identificaron una necesidad en la comunidad. Su objetivo es traer la comida mexicana que conocen al sur, con énfasis en los mariscos. El objetivo de la familia es expandirse a otros lugares. En la entrevista, Rodríguez compara la vida en California y en Mississippi, reconociendo la creciente población de latinos y el papel de la iglesia en la preservación de tradiciones y costumbres en el sur.

Date of interview:

Simone Delerme

Simone Delerme

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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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