Juan's Mexican Restaurant has been serving Fort Smith for over 30 years.
Thank you all for your business today and for all the support you've given us. We cannot believe the turnout! Dinner was crazy and we have LOTS to do to make your experience perfect, but this was a good day and we feel blessed to be back.
I'd like to offer a special thank you to all of my employees who worked so hard to make today happen and who are learning how to do their jobs in a very different way.
Come back and see us tomorrow. It's only going to get better!
Today's the big day! We are opening soon and are working on ways to make this experience a seamless as possible.
We're still learning how to navigate curbside only, so our processes will be changing a little bit in the next few days to make it easier for everybody.
We're open and excited to see you today!
Monday - Saturday:
10:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
We expect to return to normal operating hours in time, but we have to ramp back up slowly to ensure that we can provide the kind of service we want to.
Also, we'll be hiring around two or three people in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye peeled for that post.
In the meantime, if you're interested in applying, please message or comment here letting us know that you're interested and our manager, Mark Rogers will reach out to you to discuss.
It's been a while since you heard from us, but that's because we've been working hard to get everything in place to open the restaurant!
With recent changes in public policy regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), I have made the decision to open for curbside service starting on Monday, 8/3/2020!
Please note that we will not be offering delivery or dine in services at this time since we cannot control that experience in a way that makes me feel comfortable yet, but we are continuing to watch the situation and will make those determinations at a future date.
Please rest assured that our employees are wearing PPE and that we have processes in place for contact tracing, daily temperature and symptom checking, and other practices to ensure the health of our employees and customers.
Finally, while we are going to do everything in our power to ensure that our doors stay open to serve our community, please understand that it's possible we'll have to close for small periods of time if I feel like it's in the best interest of my employees or customers.
So, all that being said, it's time to knock off the rust and start slinging cheese dip, tacos, and last - but not least - our famous chile rellenos!
Welcome back, guys. We missed you!
I have had a lot of amazing, heartfelt conversations with so many people in my life and our community about the hard things happening in our world today.
One theme that's come up, again and again, is that most of the people who initially seem resistant to the black lives matter movement are, by and large, just struggling to understand how and why their voices are important, even if they aren't a person of color. In fact, many struggle to understand why it is so important to even utter the words.
And yet, I've had so many people tell me about the family, friends, grandchildren, coworkers, and teammates of color whom they absolutely adore.
And you know what, I believe them 100%. I have had dinner with the men and women telling me that they love these people of color, regardless of what their skin looks like. I've seen their heart and the good things that flow out of their lives.
I promise you, they are not trying to hurt anyone and they really do LOVE those individuals.
Of course, that begs the question as to why it is hard for some to see or acknowledge what's happening in communities of color, especially since I KNOW that they have dear friends and yes, even family, that exist in a world of color that they can't truly comprehend.
I've got a guess, but I don't want it to be taken as a truism and it certainly can't be considered axiomatic.
My theory, counter-intuitive as it might seem, is this:
The genuine love and respect that people feel towards the people of color in their lives can make it easy to forget that sometimes, it can be hard to connect with people who have a different set of experiences than us, especially when they don't always look like us.
I think it's possible that because these individuals truly ADORE their friends of color, they can't imagine a world where they wouldn't give any person, regardless of skin tone, a chance to have a meaningful relationship with them.
Again, I think all of this is true. The danger is that it's easy to think of ANY person, regardless of their differences, as a good person who is worthy of love and attention if you take the time to know them. This is simply because humans are social animals and it's easy to forget that we're literally wired for emotional connections with other thinking, feeling beings.
People of color have always had the "privilege" of having their essential person-hood recognized by those who took the time to know them and to truly see them. In the 1700s and 1800s white men and women became passionate about the abolitionist movement because they had truly SEEN how remarkable humanity can be and they saw those things in the hearts and minds of the black men and women they risked their life to make free.
Indeed, in many cases the men and women who committed their lives towards the abolition of slavery and towards a truly free and equal society, were able to take that specialized and focused love towards some specific person of color and reconcile it with a world view that didn't necessarily acknowledge the value of all people simply because they were thinking, feeling beings.
In short, they performed a kind of emotional alchemy that transformed this private understanding of a beloved friend into a love that encompassed everyone, by default and without qualification, who looked like that person. It's this sort of view that leads to action and, ultimately, change.
The trick is learning to believe, without having to see all the evidence, that a whole group of people is, by and large, good and worthy of investing our time and effort into and then learning to peacefully walk away from the toxic individuals in our life and society when their behavior warrants it.
But that's just a theory, and if it doesn't apply to you, please forgive me for any assumptions you feel like I'm making.
Anyways... until next time, and as always, let's work hard towards understanding each other and meet anger and misunderstanding with love and compassion.
Until next time, and as always:
Black Lives Matter.
Sometimes, even I need a little bit of levity and purely positive feedback.
Here's a picture that a (formerly local) artist named Raven Monroe did for me this year as a Mother's Day gift to my wife. She's a pediatric nurse practitioner, brilliant, and I think she might be an actual super hero, We're glad to be on her team.
I love you Sarah Rose.
Anderson Powers... Activate!
Also, if you're interested in seeing more of Raven's work and the kind of amazing talent that comes out of the River Valley, check out her page here.
I hope you guys enjoy the break - more hard posts are coming later.
Today, I want to speak in defense of my white friends. I'd like to try to explain what (I think) is creating some of the difficulty we're seeing with people who are struggling to understand what's happening right now and why it matters.
I've heard people saying that "silence is complicity" and sometimes, that can absolutely be true.
But silence is only complicity if it is accompanied by awareness.
Our job, as it stands, is to create awareness and, by doing so, eliminate the silence that acts as complicity. At that point, once a person has been exposed to the loving heart behind this movement to save the lives and futures of hurting people, silence is indeed complicity. Right now, I don't think that's always the case.
I've been giving a lot of thought to "peace" lately. What it means, how it's achieved, and when it is counterfeit.
You see, in practice "peace" and "subjugation" look very similar. The surface is calm, people appear to get along, and by and large, things that ought to happen do happen.
I grew up in a home where domestic violence was commonplace. I never knew peace until I left home at 15 to stay with friends, sleep in pool halls, and sometimes my car, just so I wouldn't have to experience the hard things that happened at home.
But you know what? Most of the time, it was okay. People seemed to mostly get along.
Until they didn't.
When things went wrong, when the injustice in my household was too much too bear, the whispers of dissatisfaction became roars of outrage and the violence would begin.
Those are hard things to live through, but that's okay - we can do hard things if we try.
My family was not peaceful, though at times we were subjugated. As is so often the case, it's the heart that matters.
A heart that is at peace is gentle. It is compassionate. It listens and it takes the time to understand.
A heart that has been subjugated - or a heart that seeks to subjugate - is angry. It is frightened that at any moment, those whispers will become roars and the violence will begin. It fundamentally changes how you interact with the world around you and creates cycles that can be almost impossible to break.
Let me ask you, do you feel at peace? Or do you feel subjugated? For many people of color, they still feel subjugated. It's not always overt like it was in generations past, but they still feel the weight of that oppression because, yes, statistically and in reality that oppression exists, it's just bought nicer clothes and started stressing the need to "get along."
So, how is this a defense of my white friends? Well, as a white person, it hurts to be told that you are complicit to something that you really aren't aware of.
It puts you on the defensive.
We shout, "I have black friends. I love them with everything I am!"
And that's true.
But we sometimes lack awareness. We are not complicit and we don't feel that way. We see things that people post that make us uncomfortable - we may even post those things because in our hearts, it really is about heritage because we don't have an awareness of just how horrible slavery and institutional racism really were and are.
For those people, I'd encourage them to do a detailed study on how barbaric the slave trade was. How frighteningly cruel casually abusive, and murderous it was to generations of people who, like all of you, truly yearn to be free and to taste the fruit of liberty.
Because of these things it's hard to speak out. It's hard to say things that could bring healing, because it creates a cognitive dissonance which rips at the mind, followed by the heart and the soul.
So please, be gentle with us. We are learning, some of us are trying, and some of us truly are complicit.
Take the time to learn the difference, gently educate us with love and compassion, and if we show that our ignorance is willing and we eventually unfriend you (or stop giving you our business) let them go with peace. Trust that in time, hearts will soften and things will get better if we can lead with love.
But first, for my white friends you have to be willing to say it.
You have to call out peace that is counterfeit. You have to reject that poisonous currency, because it has NO VALUE.
You have to be willing to say the words, because they have such power.
White lives matter.
Addict lives matter.
Blue lives matter.
All lives matter.
And, as God as my witness:
Black Lives Matter.
The best thing about this pandemic is that it forced me to evaluate the things that are most important to me.
And ultimately, it came down to people.
My people, your people, and everyone in between.
It changed my life and I'm going to start sharing how I see the world with all of you.
You may not always agree, but I guarantee it will be nuanced, compassionate, and well thought out.
When I am wrong, I will admit it and I will grow.
When you are wrong, I will confront you with love and compassion.
If we can do this together, the world might stand a fighting chance.
Remember, you can move a mountain through the sweat of your brow. You can change an opinion through your arguments and reason. But a heart? A heart can only be changed through love and compassion.
And a heart that has changed, can change the world.
If you want to engage with me, please know that I will protect you in my comments from abuse or ridicule. I will honor WHO you are, regardless of your opinion, but please don't shut out voices of compassion simply because it's uncomfortable.
We must stir the waters of complacency to move the American ship forward. Please, join me on my posts and let's stir those waters together.
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
So, a lot of you have seen my posts lately on both my personal and my business pages. I know they must seem inflammatory, but I'm not trying to hurt people.
You've probably seen me confront people - however gently - and at times, I've probably overstepped my bounds. For those of you who know me, and know my heart, I hope you know this is unintentional. The truth is, I have not done a good job in my life of using my position, my blessings, and my platform to advocate for the "least of these."
Please know, that I do not feel guilty for this.
But, I do feel convicted.
I'm a Christian - a flawed one with an admittedly very unique view on how and why God has set the universe in motion, but a Christian nonetheless - and the conviction I feel is the same one that led me to cutting out things that were for me, sinful.
I've always been fascinated by the Bible. I know it quite well and I have meditated upon it deeply.
I remember being awestruck when God confronted Cain about the murder of Abel.
He didn't kill Cain, but he acknowledged the hurt that he had caused and set him on a different path. He also made a promise that he would still be with him, and he would still protect him in the event that someone were to try to hurt him.
I feel this way about our brothers and sisters who serve in law enforcement.
However, there are systemic issues with the way policing is done in America, but that does not mean that every police officer is rotten. In fact, my life has been touched by wonderful police officers who were compassionate, kind, and who would never hurt anyone.
I'm reminded of a friend here in Fort Smith who went viral a couple of years ago for the compassion she showed an addict having an episode and a gas station here in town. This woman saw this man and his hurt and she met him where he was - much like Jesus does for us when we are at our lowest.
She is the epitome of what all police officers should strive to be. They are servant leaders who are here to heal the broken and protect those who cannot protect themselves.
Their job, believe it or not, is not to punish people for breaking the law.
In fact, because in America you were innocent until proven guilty, technically anytime an officer injures or kills a person when they are not in mortal danger they are violating their oath and the constitutional rights of the people they are detaining.
Punishment is reserved for the courts - after an unbiased fair trial or a fair plea deal struck by a hopefully remorseful individual you understands and would like to confront their own guilt.
We need to reform our policing system into one that is built of servant leaders who are keenly aware of the constitutional rights of their charges. That would go a long way towards solving these problems.
But it doesn't go far enough. We also have to root out those individuals who violate these sacred oaths, just as we remove doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers, and almost every other professional when they fundamentally violate their oath.
And, as a society, we have to be willing to speak out for those who have been marginalized.
And the reason I am being so vocal and that I will continue to be so local, regardless of the consequences to my business is because the blood of my brothers and sisters is crying out from the ground.
I'll leave you with this, and thanks again for reading all of my long-winded posts lately :-)
One of my favorite parables shared by Jesus in the New Testament is that of the lost sheep. He describes a flock of one hundred sheep being tended by a good shepherd.
One of the sheep was lost and in danger.
The Shepherd immediately leaves the 99 and seeks out the one who is lost and hurting.
Jesus was acknowledging the fact that, in that moment, that lost and hurting sheep was in fact worthy of extra attention, love, and effort.
It didn't change the fact that the 99 remaining sheep were precious to him, only that he had a job to do and out of his abundance of love for all of his sheep, he chooses to focus his attention on the one who is lost and hurting.
That's a beautiful story to me and I hope it's beautiful to you, too.
Someday, you or people you love might be that lost sheep and when that time comes, you should take comfort in the fact that 300 million Americans will be willing to say that the life of your loved one matters.
That they will leave everything behind, they will charge the gates of hell, risk life and limb, all for a chance to bring them home safely.
Please, help us bring our brothers and sisters of color home safely. Please join me in pursuing the lost and hurting.
Blue lives matter.
White lives matter.
All lives matter.
But right now, maybe more than ever?
Black Lives Matter.
|Monday||10:30 - 21:00|
|Tuesday||10:30 - 21:00|
|Wednesday||10:30 - 21:00|
|Thursday||10:30 - 21:00|
|Friday||10:30 - 22:00|
|Saturday||10:30 - 22:00|
|Sunday||11:00 - 15:00|