We take enormous pride in being Wichita’s oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant. First and foremost, we thank you for coming to eat at Connie’s! Because of YOU, we are blessed that so many of our customers have grown up alongside us, and that’s what makes our story so enriching! Without our loyal customers, we wouldn’t have such a rich history to share.
Rafael Lopez and Conception (Connie) Rocha Lopez came to the United States, got married, and — like so many of us — worked very hard in pursuit of the American Dream. Taking great pride in his country, and recognizing the importance of faithfully defending America, Rafael joined the U.S. Army, courageously fighting in World War II as an infantryman.
After the War, Rafael returned to Wichita and worked at McConnell Air Force Base. He gained vast experience working on-base, and learning to cut hair was among the many skills he earned while serving our country. In fact, once Rafael’s military service ended, he traded in his fatigues for a pair of cutting shears and eventually became a proud small-business owner of a barbershop in the Westway Shopping Center in South Wichita!
While Rafael and Connie were building their new life in Wichita, they continued to take pride and joy in rearing their beloved daughter, Carmen. As an adolescent, Carmen was exposed early-on to small business and hard work. Eventually, the three of them opened the doors to Connie’s Mexico Café.
After earning her B.A. in Political Science from Wichita State University in the mid-1970s — and with two small girls in tow — Carmen continued to demonstrate the hard work ethic she learned growing up, effectively managing the Café for her parents. In the mid-’80s, Connie and Rafael decided it was time to retire and enjoy the fruits of their labor by traveling around the world, so the mantle of officially managing the Café was passed onto Carmen and her total of (by that time) five girls.
The old saying “history repeats itself” is quite fitting in sharing our story. We are certain you — our customers who have been eating at Connie’s for years — can recall visions of the five girls skipping around the booths, approaching the customers with menus and conversations, or bussing the tables. Carmen’s girls learned two valuable lessons from their Grandpa Rafael: The Café was their “bread and butter” and to always remember the customer is always right!
Some of girls (now women) have since had their own children, and it’s not an uncommon sight to see the next generation of children playing in the backroom, hearing their laughter amidst the sounds of clanking plates.
Carmen, her daughters, and the employees of Connie’s are proud to continue upholding the legacy of providing the best Mexican food in town. So please “tell a friend” or “digale a un amigo!”