Carlos Mendez, Viva OwnerCarlos Mendez, Owner/Chef
Welcome to Viva Mexican Grill and Tequileria! I am the owner of Jose’s Mexican Restaurant in Cambridge, and I have been looking for the perfect spot for a new venture for several years. When the Plain St. location in Wayland became available, I knew right away it was exactly what I was looking for: a spacious, open layout in a neighborhood focused community.

When I was growing up in Mexico, tamales were made from corn fresh-ground at the local tortilleria, and all produce was fresh bought daily because we owned no refrigerator. When mushrooms were called for, it was our job as kids to go out in the countryside to collect them. No dish was too time consuming or labor intensive for my mother and aunts to take on. Mexican food and cooking was just everywhere.

That said, I didn’t really learn to cook until I came to the U.S. When I first came here, I worked as a cook in family restaurants owned by Greeks, Albanians, and Turks in the midwest. I always loved the excitement of the kitchen, but didn’t recognize it as my calling. I eventually moved to Boston to attend the University of Massachusetts where I completed my undergraduate degree.

While working in the high tech industry, however, I started to miss the creative outlet of the kitchen, and a dream of owning my own restaurant began to take shape. I took over my first restaurant, Jose’s, in 2003 and have never looked back. Now the adventure continues with Viva in Wayland, where we look forward to sharing our Mexican heritage with our new friends and neighbors.

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