Alfonso Medina has spurred on a movement with a sign he erected outside his restaurant in Marshalltown, Iowa.
Some customers of a popular Mexican restaurant in Iowa have taken offense to a yard sign the owner placed outside. La Carreta has been serving the small community Marshalltown, located 50 miles northeast of Des Moines, for two decades now. The current owner Alfonso Medina took over the family restaurant business a couple of years ago. Ever since he erected the sign outside his restaurant, he has received several letters complaining about it. Instead of removing it, he replaced it with a much bigger sign that read, "NO LOVE, NO TACOS." He explained, "I just meant to respond with good humor," CNN reports.
No Love No Tacos! This is a true patriot here. https://t.co/aRGKCELc6q— Laura Amerman, CFRE 🛶 (@LEAmerman) October 18, 2020
The sign is an obvious message about social justice and equality, but some believed that it was "too politically correct." Unknowingly, Medina has started a conversation about love and politics—and tacos. The owner was born in Iowa. His parents migrated to the United States from Mexico more than three decades ago. "Made in Mexico, delivered in the US," he said. So far, La Carreta has received immense support from the Marshalltown community. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the restaurant has stayed open and its employees have stayed on the job as Iowa is one of the states that never enforced a total lockdown. Medina stated, "We've been lucky to have great support from the community."
It was only when he placed a sign outside his restaurant in August that things changed. The sign at the time read in rainbow-colored letters, "We Believe Black lives matter, No human is illegal, science is real, Women's rights are human rights," among other affirmations. Though his wife called him "brave" for erecting the sign, he said he "didn't think there was anything bad." Almost immediately, his social media feed was full of criticism from customers. One customer wrote a letter accusing him of succumbing to political correctness and "disrespecting Christianity and America." They also called him a "leftist Marxist." Medina responded to the backlash through a Facebook post.
He declared in Spanish, "Si ladran es porque vamos avanzando," which means, "If they bark, it signifies we are advancing." On Instagram, he added. "We're sorry your burrito had to get political, but it was the only way y'all would listen." However, the "no love, no tacos" sign was what catapulted his restaurant to fame. Now, the phrase has taken off. Not only is it the restaurant's new slogan, but it has also become a movement. Folks have responded positively, even requesting t-shirts with the slogan printed on them. So, the restaurant owner copyrighted it and started selling T-shirts and other branded merchandise to help fund a scholarship for the local community college. "I am someone who takes something negative and tries to turn it into something 10 times more positive," he said. "If they don't want us, they should align their ideals and their comments with the food they eat."
Medina is no stranger to politics. During the recent primary season, Democratic hopefuls such as Beto O'Rourke, Julian Castro, and Tom Steyer made campaign stops at La Carreta. To put the restaurant's recently acclaimed popularity to good use, the business owner has launched a new website through which he is advocating to make Election Day a national holiday. But, he is also practicing what he preaches. Medina stated, "My goal is to make the elections as just as possible. I am going to close on Election Day, and not only pay my employees, but I am going to go and volunteer at the polls." La Carreta was also featured on The Food Network last year. The TV channel named its "California Burrito" one of the best in the country. To keep up with Medina and his restaurant, you can follow him on Facebook. You can also check out the "no love, no tacos" movement on its official website or Instagram.