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First Person

What’s happening to Boston’s Villa Mexico Cafe?

Until earlier this year, Julie King operated her beloved eatery from a Beacon Hill gas station. She explains what’s cooking next.

Chef Julie King.
Chef Julie King. Dina Rudick/Globe staff

The landlord is going to demolish the building, and he is planning to build a four-floor building. That’s why we had to leave. We had been there for more than six years. The restaurant closed on January 31.

I have been in this business for 14 years, and I have REALLY AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD. I even have a picture of my first customer. I have the best customers. My neighbors in Beacon Hill, even though they were rich people, they used to buy my food. I COULD SAY IT WAS FAST FOOD, but I don’t like to. It was basically burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, tamales, and tacos.


Right now, I am [considering] a space right across the street, also on Cambridge Street. I AM THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY, and this is my living. I have a lot of support from the neighbors. City Hall is trying to help me. We are also looking for a restaurant that is closed that I can buy in the same area or a food truck. Those are my options.

We are doing catering. I deliver to Suffolk University, Mass. General, MIT. I’m also selling my salsa online. It’s MY GRANDMOTHER’S RECIPE. My customers say, “You eat this salsa, and it has this kick to it!” I’m shipping to New York, Chicago, and Miami, from word of mouth.

Our first pop-up was at [the Somerville bar] DADDY JONES on March 27. We were planning to do it for 100 people, LIKE A BIG PARTY. I’m going to talk to some other friends who own restaurants, and then we will pop up somewhere else. That way, I can see my customers and my friends. It’s not a business; it’s like my house and family.   — As told to Kara Baskin

Interview has been edited and condensed.