Jose "Conejito" Garza has died
Jose Garza, owner of Conejito's Place, 539 W. Virginia St., passed away this morning, according to restaurant staff. Garza -- whose nickname was "Conejito" which means "bunny" in Spanish -- had been battling cancer. He was 76.
Garza moved to Milwaukee from Monterrey, Mexico in 1956 and opened the restaurant in 1972. Garza was a common fixture at the Conejito's bar, and over the years he made friends with people from all over the world, including Cheech Marin, who remained one of his close friends throughout his life.
In a 2008 OnMilwaukee.com interview, Garza said, ""From day one, business has been good. It's always good because I have lots of power from above. Everyone who comes into Conejito's becomes my friend. They might first be a customer, but in time, they are a friend."
I met Mr. Garza more than a few times at the bar. He was very nice, funny, gracious and always seemed to have a pen or a calender for you. Thank you Conejito for your great smile, kind demeanor and wonderful restaurant; you will certainly be missed.
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