The Garden

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you. It’s Pop’s garden. He knows everything that’s planted and on many sunny days you may find him out watering, pruning, weeding or just watching it grow.

Many plants in the garden are used in the restaurant. There are Tomatillo’s, Tomato’s, Grapes, Castor Beans, Hot Peppers, Red Amaranth, and many more. Come walk through the garden and see if you can identify some of the things planted there. Then come sit on our deck and enjoy the sun and one of our signature cocktails!

Meet "Pops" - The Heart of Rio Tomatlan

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Meet Pops!

The Heart of Rio Tomatlan.

You might have noticed him but thought nothing of it. Quiet and unassuming, Pops (whose real name is Gustavo) is a fixture here at Rio Tomatlan. One sleepy Monday in August, I had the distinct pleasure to sit down and interview him. He’s a born storyteller.

Name: Gustavo (but everyone just calls him “Pops”)

HEATHER: “Where were you born?”
POPS: “Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.”

Pops came to the United States as a young man to study English. He walked over the border daily to go to the Methodist school. It cost his parents $7 a month for his schooling which was a lot in that place and time. The school was near the river and one day it washed away. A new school opened up at Fort McIntosh. The new school had two rooms in the Fort. Pops returns back to Mexico every 3-4 years to check on his home and visit friends and family.

HEATHER: “Where have you worked in the area?”
POPS: “Xerox and then Rio Tomatlan.”

HEATHER: “How long have you been employed here at Rio?”
POPS: “Since it opened.”

HEATHER: “What’s your favorite dish at Rio?”
POPS: “Everything! I taught Rafael (the owner of Rio Tomatlan) the basics of cooking.”

HEATHER: “What do you think is your favorite thing about Rio Tomatlan?”
POPS: “The location. Canandaigua is beautiful and this location has lots of space compared to the old location”

HEATHER: “What do you do here at Rio?”
POPS: “A little of everything but mainly I work in the kitchen and doing prep work.”

HEATHER: “Tell us about your garden.”
POPS: “I grew up in a farming family. There was plenty of unused space here so I planted a garden. I enjoy planting Tomatillo’s and Peppers.”

HEATHER: “If you were to describe yourself, what would you say?”
POPS: “Easy Going. Friendly, Quiet, - likes to garden.”

Charming and soft spoken, I enjoyed all of his stories about his life. So the next time you’re at Rio, stop and say Hello to Pops if you see him. I’m sure you’ll get a smile and a Hello back and if you’re very lucky, he’ll tell you about his life in Mexico.