Ernestina Escajeda “Mama Tina”

Mama Tina was born 1946 in Guadalupe D.B. Chihuahua, Mexico. Her and her 9 brothers and sisters started from very humble beginnings. Often, her mother and father would skip meals to make sure that the kids were fed. Her younger years were spent working, cooking and taking care of her younger siblings. She had aspirations of growing up and becoming a famous clothing designer.

Once she became a mother, she began working endless hours in a textile factory for over a decade to independently support her household. Her first-born son had passed at the age of 5 to hydrocephalus.

She then raised her other 5 children: Ivonne, Carolina, Florinda and the twins, Ruben and Ramiro.

She saved for years to be able to open her own restaurant in Guadalupe, Mexico, named “Tacos Tina’s” which was very successful in the area. She also owned a neighboring clothing store and a corner convenience store for 19 years.

As violence and lawless acts of drug crimes swept every city and pueblo in Mexico, she witnessed her brother being murdered. Threats to her own life, home and businesses persisted; forcing her to move to Louisville, Kentucky as a dual-citizen. She was able to escape the dangerous environment while leaving her businesses, friends and family behind to start a new beginning.

Mama Tina’s recipes had already inspired the authentic Cuisine of Ramiro’s Cantina – previously located in the Clifton historical neighborhood on Frankfort Ave. Her presence and experience improved not only the taste but also the mechanics of the kitchen. Once Ramiro’s expanded to Indiana, her flavors had embedded a keystone taste of Mexican food in Southern Indiana.

Tina’s spirit and audacity shows in the vibrant atmosphere of Ramiro’s Cantina located at 149 Spring St. in Jeffersonville, IN. 

Her delectable recipes have helped feed a million people and counting via dine-in, online orders, catering, wedding and food truck events.

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