Last updateFri, 20 Jul 2018 11am

A visit to tiny Oconahua: Pizzas, frapuccinos & impressive ruins

Word had reached me that there was a very good pizza and coffee shop – plus small hotel – in the little town of Oconahua, located 75 kilometers west of Guadalajara between Etzatlán and San Marcos.

pg7a“Just what I need,” I thought, as I wanted to bring a group of homeschooled kids to Oconahua to visit the archeological ruins there. Kids, of course, are always hungry.

The only problem was that the pizza place only opened at 6 p.m. So I contacted one of the owners, an American named Michelle Kelley, who immediately said, “Bring the kids by. We’ll open for them no matter what time.”

So, around 1 p.m. on a Friday, I drove into Oconahua with a load of kids and their parents and found Michelle Kelley and Ana Torres Nieves waiting for us with the pizza oven fired up and ready for use.

The kids were delighted to find that the drink menu included – in addition to coffee, wine and beer – irresistible-looking sugary frapuccinos in a great variety of flavors. As for the pizzas, the choices were pepperoni, Hawaiian and Mexican. In addition, they always have a special, which at the moment is spaghetti.

After placing our orders, I asked Michelle how it was that tiny Oconahua came to have a café that is attracting customers from all around the area, and even as far away as Guadalajara.

“Three years ago Ana and I asked ourselves what we wanted to do with our time after we retired and move to Oconahua. We decided to open a small business, something that would raise money to help local kids go to college. So our business is nonprofit and neither of us get a salary. Now we have two hotel rooms upstairs and we weren’t exactly sure what we wanted downstairs, but we finally decided on a coffee shop. So we opened, ready to sell coffee every morning ... and nobody came!  We quickly figured out that people don’t drink coffee in the morning here but at night.

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