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Our story

Tapalpa Jalisco, Mexico

EST 1982

La Mara Signature

Late one warm summer afternoon in 1979, an 18 year old young man and his older brother arrived in California to start a new life. With their farmer’s hands filled with only hope and a promise to send money back home, Rafael Jaime and his brother launched their dream.

Little did the young man from Jalisco, Mexico know the challenges and hard work that were waiting for him would pay tribute down the road for a future restaurant empire. Rafael Jaime began as a dishwasher in Chamblee, Georgia in a Mexican restaurant named El Toro. Pranked on day one, he was tasked with scrubbing salsa containers until spotless. The line cooks, however, didn’t tell him they were stained. Nonetheless, Rafael’s tenacity and determination prevailed and he soon moved up through the kitchen ranks to become head cook.

By 1982, Rafael, who also became known as “La Mara” (short for the marvelous in Spanish) for his ability to swiftly handle incoming tickets on the kitchen line, had advanced to the front of house. He had moved through every position in the kitchen, as well as being a server. Finally, he became an assistant manager. These achievements all occurred  within three years, while having yet to master the English language. Rafael was a manager until 1989, and then he became a managing partner in a new restaurant named El Rodeo.

Rafael Jaime has opened dozens of restaurants. He has strived to provide ownership opportunities for others as a way of honoring the opportunities given to him when he began his journey. He has been recognized for his generosity to the community by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  He has also been awarded the Lifetime Achievement in Business Excellence.

Created with his wife and children, CT Taqueria is his latest and largest restaurant. It is his family legacy to be carried on and enjoyed for many years to come. All of the challenges and accomplishments have led to this moment. What you experience here today, is the result of years of hard work and the perfecting of a plethora of experiences.

From our family to yours, and to all those who have been with us along the way, welcome to CT Cantina & Taqueria!