HI MY FRIENDS!
Julie King is the founder and owner of Villa México Café. Known as the (in)famous "Momma King," she's been a mentor, an adoptive mom, a nagger, and a local food industry personality that adores cooking and sharing good food with her friends (customers). The restaurant is not a business, it is part of her home, and when you visit you get it all- good, bad, happy or sad. Authentic Mexican.
Villa México Café is an immigrant-women-family-owned restaurant that's operated for 20 years- and counting. Founded by a Mexican missing her food, the restaurant's mission is to bring authentic Mexican food and culture to the people of New England as one of the first authentic Mexican restaurants in Massachusetts. Through the years, and many ups and downs, Villa Mexico has established deep community roots and proudly supports different community organizations and staple events focusing on women's health, food safety, social justice, and education.
Villa México Café had its origins in Woburn, Mass. Momma King, owner, manager, cook, cleaner and everything else, moved there with her daughter, Bessie, after her American husband passed away from Alzheimer's. A lawyer in Mexico, Julie could not litigate in Massachusetts without going to school again. However, at that time her daughter's education came before hers. She decided to open a restaurant since she found no good Mexican food in Woburn or its surroundings, or authentic Mexican food in the state for that matter.
She went into business with one mission: to bring authentic, homemade Mexican food to the people of New England.
The first two Villa México Café locations were in Woburn. In 2006 Julie relocated to a gas station store in Beacon Hill. The last gas station in Boston became the notorious home of the "gas station burritos," and the restaurant earned its "Best Burrito in Boston" title from Boston Phoenix and Improper Bostonian there. The gas station was demolished for redevelopment in 2013. The latest Villa México Café opened in Boston's Financial District on January 11, 2016. During this period of re-opening the business continued its black salsa sales and catering.
I was born and raised in México City. While working as a lawyer in my country, I met my Texan husband when we worked on a project together. We lived in the U.S. for some time after marrying and having our first and only child. Then we moved back to México because I missed my family.
In the 90s I became a widow and decided to move with my daughter back to the States, so that she could attend college. We relocated to Massachusetts and began our New England lives in 1999. I had always heard or read of Boston and loved it, even without visiting it before. Once in Massachusetts I decided to venture into the food business because I could not find good Mexican
food to satisfy our cravings. I figured I could share good Mexican food with New Englanders using the recipes my mom and grandma taught me.
The first Villa México Café opened in the suburb of Woburn, and we worked very hard for two years to make it grow. I fondly remember people applauding when I came out of the kitchen, or dancing with customers while taking food to tables, and the line that would form outside of our business on Friday nights to eat dinner. Unfortunately, a building fire totaled our restaurant and we closed
Villa México by Julie’s Fayre opened shortly after, also in Woburn. Health issues made me close shop once again after almost three years, but I was hooked on cooking for a living by then. While having a catering business I also did research and this “little Mexican woman,” as Todd English once called me, found a retail spot in Boston and reopened Villa México Café.
The business was inside the store of the last gas station in Beacon Hill. I began selling my food and gained the title of "Best Burritos in Boston," after a year in business. With my team, we grew for six years and came to be known as the "gas station burritos," or "Momma King's place." This location was magical for me. I met so many doctors, students, patients, employees, tourists, government leaders, homeless persons, children, singles who met there and became couples, couples who married and brought their newborns… Truly, the little gas station restaurant was more than a business, it was a home where everyone was welcome and where we felt a lot of love through sharing food.
Sadly, in 2013 the owner of the land where the gas station was located decided to demolish it for redevelopment. I spent two years finding the next place for the business to call home, while continuing our catering and salsa sales. Thanks to a wonderful opportunity from one of our friends, our new home was found on Water Street in Boston.
We have been humbled and excited to open again, with the same passion and dedication for cooking great food for you- our customers, our friends!