My Life in Photos | 40 Years of Fonda San Miguel

For four decades, Fonda San Miguel has been serving delicious Interior Mexican cuisine from its famed North Austin restaurant. In honor of this special anniversary, we asked co-owner Tom Gilliland to share some of his favorite memories.

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1. One of our many menus from across the years. 2. Co-owner Miguel Ravago, Austin Chronicle Food Editor Virginia B. Wood and I put this cookbook together to celebrate our 30th anniversary, with over 100 recipes. We’re working with University of Texas Press to reissue it. 3. Me with Mercedes Ramos and Paco the Parrot. Paco was maybe six months old in that photograph, and the grandson of the owners of Illy Coffee took the photograph. It’s a great photograph. You can really see Mercedes and Paco looking at each other. 4. A menu from when we were open for lunch. When Fonda San Miguel first opened, we served dinner and lunch for seven or eight years before we stopped lunch service and started putting all of our emphasis on dinner. 5. A feature that Santé Magazine did on us about 15 or 20 years ago. 6. The second menu we ever had. All of those little designs are meant to represent San Miguel de Allende. My favorite is the dog on the church because when you walk down the streets of San Miguel de Allende it’s typical to hear all these dogs barking, look up and see one on the roof! 7. A photo from around 1972 of all the staff at our first restaurant, San Angel, in Houston, in 1972. On the very far left, that’s me — and the fourth person over is Miguel. 8. The very first menu was handwritten by me. In those days we could barely afford the paper it was on. 9. Miguel and I on the cover of the Austin Chronicle. 10. One of our very first menus designed by one of Mexico’s best known and greatest living artists, Pedro Friedeberg. At least five or six pieces of his art are hanging in the restaurant. He was in three or four months ago, we’re old friends. 11. We’ve always put Christmas lights up, from the very beginning. But the blue ones are the ones people noticed — everyone liked them so much. Around twelve years ago we just started leaving them up year round.

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