Many have had delightful encounters at the Mexican restaurant where the owner is always ready to serve you with his unique energy. What many don’t know is that the owner’s name is Carlos Manuel Lupe Medina (51) his story started when he was 8 years old, when instead of playing outside and enjoying his childhood, he had to go out and help his mom put food on the table. Today this boy has grown up, becoming a husband, father, and the owner of 2 restaurants in Aruba, far from his hometown of Ticul Yucatan, where he took the first steps in becoming the person he is today.
Carlos ‘Kalin’ comes from a family of 5 siblings. “My father had two families that he had to maintain. We started working at a young age and i promised my mom that I would always help her.” He relates. “ To this day, what I most remember about my childhood is my first job at a pottery, where we would make clay vessels.
Carlos ‘Kalin’ comes from a family of 5 siblings. “My father had two families that he had to maintain. We started working at a young age and i promised my mom that I would always help her.” He relates. “ To this day, what I most remember about my childhood is my first job at a pottery, where we would make clay vessels. I always dreamed of having my own business. At 13 I learned how to make women’s shoes, and 2 years later, along with my brother Felipe, we started working in our own shoe company.” Kalin relates as he remembers his first experience of owning a business. “We started selling them in the market and everything was going good. We were very eager but the dollar started rising in Mexico and there was a very high economic inflation that resulted in us not being able to continue with the factory. At 15 he decided to go to Cancun to find a job. He was by himself and didn’t know anyone there. For 1 whole year, at this young age, he worked in construction, many times in need of food and shelter because his income wasn’t enough to pay rent. I even slept on the streets but I never gave up. Always with my head held high and remembered the promise I had made to my mother and my family to help them.
Kalin started in the world of F&B as a dishwasher. “I started washing dishes, pots, and pans at a hotel in 1990, that’s how I started learning how to cook. Later on, I had the opportunity to work at a 5-star hotel as a dishwasher, I worked there for another year.” After this, Kalin had the opportunity to be trained as a waiter, which he picked up very quickly. That’s how he changed his function from back of the house to front of the house, as a server.
In 1998, Kalin started to see the first fruits of all his hard work. He was offered the chance to become the owner of the bar, but there was one small detail; the bar was in Aruba with Carlos and Charlie’s. He would have to come to Aruba for 3 months to open Carlos and Charlies. Without a doubt in his mind, he accepted the proposition and that’s how he came to Aruba, on his own, but with the desire to continue demonstrating his abilities and hard work.
I’m very grateful to my mother who taught me to become a person who is honest, hardworking, and always ready to help others if it can be done. I’m grateful to my father (r.i.p) because he taught me the same things. More than anything I’m grateful to God who has always blessed me with health, to my wife, and to my daughter who inspire me to keep going. To my local Aruban people and all the tourists who visit me, I give thanks.
We have 2 Kalin’s Mexican and we’re ready to open our first Kalins in Colombia.