The name El Campesino was born out of the life and efforts of Ezequiel Aguirre Arellano, who immigrated to the United States in the early 1970s, like many immigrants, in search of a higher standard of living. Among his many jobs, the one he most identified with and rejoiced in was as a campesino, a word whose sense is quite difficult to translate into English. Although dictionaries define it as peasant, there is much more to it. Being a campesino is tied to one’s roots.
Mr. Aguirre was a campesino from birth to death in 1987. In the United States, he began as a harvester in California earning minimum wage and soon ascended to management positions. His dream of bringing his family to the United States was not fulfilled until 1989, two years past his time, thanks to the efforts of his eldest son, Joel.
Joel, too, began life as a campesino. unlike his father, he had the opportunity to enter into a business venture in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 1980s. Thus began the Aguirre family’s restaurant tradition. Although they have become business owners, they are still campesinos at heart. With its name, this restaurant in Marion, Ohio pays tribute to this reality and to the life of Ezequiel Aguirre Arellano. Now Ezequiel’s widow, Isabel, and their fourteen children, thirty-five* grandchildren, and seven* great-grandchildren have made a living in this country of opportunity.
*Likely to change very soon.