Crowds enjoy Breakfast with Primo Rafa at La Soga

Popular radio show host gives backpacks to Lansing school kids, while La Soga gives breakfast to 150 visitors

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (August 22, 2019) – “The restaurant life is exciting,” reflects Emiliano Muñoz, as though he were a seasoned proprietor rather than a sophomore at TF South. Emiliano’s family owns and runs La Soga, the Mexican restaurant at 19267 Burnham Avenue in Lansing, so he has a lot of experience in the kitchen and at tables. But today was special.

Emiliano Muñoz printed and folded menus in preparation for the big event. It’s one of his many jobs at the family-owned La Soga. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

La Soga was chosen by Radio La Que Buena (FM105.1) to host a promotion with their popular radio host “El Primo Rafa” (“Cousin Rafa”). Rafa was onsite Thursday morning—recording announcements, posting live video on his Facebook page, and posing for photos with customers.

The Delgado family and Demecio Loera were first in line, arriving before 6:00am. Being in the right place at the right time, they were included in one of Primo Rafa’s videos:

Rafa recorded several announcements during his visit, and each one could be heard on the radio about 20 minutes later. The crew had parked their van along Burnham Avenue, with La Que Buena playing through the speakers. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Radio La Que Buena has been giving away backpacks at events like this all summer long, about two events each week, mostly in the city of Chicago. Lansing resident Marisol Gaeta is the Activation Supervisor for the program, so when the station decided to expand its reach, she scouted for places in her hometown. La Soga had high reviews, and the Muñoz family was eager to work with the crew to accommodate the event, so they were chosen.

After La Soga was chosen to host Breakfast with Primo Rafa, Martha Muñoz posted a sign in the window to let current customers know. The morning of the event, the line was out the door. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Delores Rivera (left) and her children—David, Aiden, and Noe—got to meet Primo Rafa before heading off to school. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Delores Rivera from Lansing’s Building Department is a regular customer at La Soga, and Martha Muñoz reached out to her to make sure the event did not require any special permitting or other permissions. Rivera’s main suggestion was for the Muñoz family to make the plaza owner and neighboring businesses aware of the event, just to ensure no one would be inconvenienced.

Lansing schools had started classes earlier in the week, so the crowd at La Soga grew as parents stopped by with their kids on the way to school. Many of the Thursday-morning patrons were already familiar with La Soga, but the advertisements on La Que Buena 105.1 leading up to the event drew in new customers as well.

Juan Ortiz heard the ads on the radio and decided to try La Soga for the first time. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Jose Jimenez (left) met Primo Rafa for the first time several years ago, and they discovered that they are both originally from the same small town in Mexico—Jiquilpan. Jimenez lives in Dyer, Indiana, now, and when he heard on the radio that Rafa would be in Lansing, he came to La Soga for the first time and reconnected. Jimenez owns Jose Jimenez Cleaning, a commercial and construction cleaning service with clients in Illinois and Indiana. Driving to different sites gives him plenty of time to listen to the radio. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Lansing Fire Station 29 is right across the street from La Soga. The crew stopped by the event for breakfast to go, and then took a photo with Primo Rafa, who joked about the height difference. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
The small dining area in La Soga was soon filled with breakfast lovers. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
The tables outside the restaurant were full as well. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Primo Rafa has been doing radio in the United States for 30 years, and he still enjoys meeting people, helping small businesses, and giving back to the community. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Throughout the event, Gilberto Muñoz worked quickly and carefully to ensure there was enough breakfast for everyone:

Around 7:30am, Primo Rafa began announcing raffle winners, with the help of Ximena Muñoz, the youngest member of the Muñoz family:

Lily (right), also a student at TF South, works at La Soga when she’s not in school. She was able to put in some time at the restaurant before school Thursday morning, and Martha took her photo with Cousin Rafa. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
After the event officially ended at 8:00am, the Munoz family took time to pose with Primo Rafa. From left: Primo Rafa, Emiliano, Ximena, Martha, and Gilberto Muñoz, and Aaron, who helps manage each production and does “whatever’s needed.” (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Once the swell of publicity subsided, the Muñoz family served the radio crew—Primo Rafa, Aaron, and Marisol Gaeta—a quiet breakfast. They also packed up breakfast to go for other radio staff. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Primo Rafa understands that advertising on the radio is too expensive for many small businesses, so he enjoys doing promotions like this. The event gave him an opportunity to give away 80 backpacks for school kids, and by hosting it at La Soga, he gave the Muñoz family an opportunity to enjoy two hours of publicity for the cost of some free breakfasts. The food itself is more convincing than a paid advertisement would be, and now that people are familiar with the location, they are more likely to return.

Martha Muñoz, who had been nervous about serving an unknown number of people two hours before the restaurant normally opens, was both exhausted and enthusiastic by the end of the morning. She’s already looking forward to the restaurant’s next big event—they will be a vendor at Autumn Fest 2019, for all three days, and the Burnham Avenue location will remain open during that time as well. Autumn Fest is October 11, 12, and 13 at Fox Pointe (18138 Henry Street).

Taqueria La Soga is located at 19267 Burnham Avenue in Lansing.

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