[Reportage] In Chicxulub, a meteorite of fun and good food | Canada shares more than one continent with Mexico

We are a community. When customers need help, we give it to them and they bring it to us. I am Mexican, they are Canadian and we are all friends.

A quote from Conchita Díaz, owner of David’s restaurant

David says that before settling in Mexico, he received a discouraging diagnosis from his doctors, who advised him to recover in a quiet place with a good climate, good food, and good people. A friend suggested we go to Chicxulub in Yucatán.

I came here very sick. It was difficult to speak, to read, to walk. I was human scum. I had contracted dengue in India. But Conchita saved me with her attentive care, delicious food and margaritas!

A quote from David Henry, owner of David’s restaurant
He points his finger at a specific location on the Chicxulub Crater map.

David Henry

Photo: RCI / Paloma Martínez Mendez

The crater formed by the Chicxulub meteorite is more than 2.5 km deep and more than 200 km in diameter. It is recognized as the largest and best preserved in the world.

This meteorite has been the subject of several studies, which indicate that it is the imprint of the one that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

At the heart of the crater is today Conchita and David’s restaurant.

Conchita lived in this unique place when David arrived. At the time, the Mexican practiced her profession as a physiotherapist. She first knew him as a patient and that’s when their relationship began.

David and Conchita bonded and tried to earn a living in Canada, but the call from Mexico was stronger. The couple eventually decided to settle in Chicxulub, where the rest of Conchita’s family is.

Years passed and after several conversations with friends praising Conchita’s culinary talents, the idea for the restaurant came to fruition. The couple embarked on the adventure.

David, a former ESL teacher, talks enthusiastically about this project, which is much more than a restaurant. For him it is a way of life, an ode to happiness and community.

Most customers live in the region and come on foot, he says.

Most are Canadians, but we also receive American, European and Mexican tourists from the north of the country, the Mexican capital Puebla or Monterrey.

A quote from David Henry, owner of David’s restaurant

According to Conchita, her customers choose her restaurant because of the quality of her food, but also because of the atmosphere.

Portrait of André Clermont, smiling

André Clermont, a French-Ontarian from Ottawa, is the leader of the group André and Friends, who perform twice a week at David’s restaurant.

Photo: RCI / Paloma Martínez Mendez

The French-Ontarian André Clermont knows something about it. Twice a week he takes the stage with his partners Glenn and Allen to perform songs.

It’s a pleasure to sing for me, but also because other people like music. We mainly sing well-known songs in English, but sometimes also in Spanish and French.

A quote from André Clermont, member of the André and Friends group

This native of the Canadian capital has been coming to the region for periods of four to six months for six years now, with his wife and sometimes with his son and daughter and friends.

She smiles.

Jimena, granddaughter of Conchita and David

Photo: RCI / Paloma Martínez Mendez

And then there is Jimena, the granddaughter of Conchita and David, another essential person in this adventure in catering and music. The young woman is barmaid restaurant, but performing on stage is a matter of course.

Jimena started as a dancer jarana on the makeshift stage of the patio at the age of 8. She explains that this typical Yucatán dance is a kind of mestizo tap dance, of Andalusian and Aragonese origin.

After the jaranaI started helping as a waitress and now at the bar because I like it and it’s not as complicated as being a waitress.

A quote from Jimena, bartender at David’s restaurant

And sometimes Jimena sings with the musicians.

He smiles in front of a brick oven.

Natael Navarro Ciau, handyman and right arm of David Henry and Conchita Díaz in the restaurant.

Photo: RCI / Paloma Martínez Mendez

In the kitchen we find Natael Navarro Ciau. This Maya is a man of a thousand talents. Since meeting David and Conchita 18 years ago, he has completed several projects for the couple.

I started working with them as a bricklayer on their first house. And today I do a little bit of everything in the restaurant. From clearing spaces (plumbing, gardening and building) to baking pizzas in this oven I built myself.

A quote from Natael Navarro Ciau, Chef at David’s restaurant

During the opening months, the hours spent in the restaurant are not counted. The Yucatec says he has been happy to work with Conchita and David since they formed a good team and that he gets on very well with them.

It is in this festive atmosphere that the other members of the team, all Mexicans, receive customers.

They are both laughing a lot.

Bill Yull and his grandson Alex Lewis, customers of David’s restaurant

Photo: RCI / Paloma Martínez Mendez

Bill Yull, who has lived in Chicxulub for three or four months every winter for the past five years, tells us that for his grandson Alex Lewis, visiting David and Conchita’s restaurant was the first stop on his first trip to Mexico.

Montreal native and Ottawa resident Bill thinks his young visitor should see places like this to soak up the atmosphere of the area.

The people of Yucatán are wonderful. The Maya people are extraordinary. There is in them an ethnicity, a sincerity and an authenticity that I respect a lot. They are family oriented, hardworking and supportive of each other. They welcome people from Canada and around the world with open arms.

A quote from Bill Yull, customer

The restaurant closed for the season in mid-April. It will reopen in October, when Canadians fleeing the cold begin to return to the area.

Montage of portraits of Conchita and David enlarge The image (new window)

During the spring and summer, Conchita and David will rest at their home in Chicxulub. In the fall, their Canadian friends return.

Photo: RCI / Paloma Martínez Mendez

For Conchita and David, after the hustle and bustle of cooking, margaritas and friends in the winter, it’s time to rest during the intensely hot summer months in Yucatán.

The couple will use this time to regain their strength as they plan menus and artistic surprises for the new season.

Note: This report is also available in Spanish

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