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Connie’s Mexican Café searches for answers after painting found during restoration of historic building

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 11:05 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A popular Wichita restaurant is looking for answers after finding a painting during renovations. Connie’s Mexican Café is one of the oldest buildings on the north side, and family said keeping history alive is a big part of their restaurant.

“Connie is my grandmother. My grandpa Ralph opened this restaurant in 1963. They came from Alamo, Texas,” said Connie’s Manager Cici Garcia.

The building was built in 1901. A few years ago, it was forced to shut down for a couple of months.

“In 2016 the roof, we were noticing that it was starting to cave in,” said Garcia. “So one day the fire department came in and said, ‘you guys have to shut it down.’”

After having to completely remodel the kitchen, restaurant operators found a little piece of history. A lot of questions remain.

“It was underneath all that, we were like ‘oh my God’ it was breathtaking,” said Garcia. “Everybody just stopped what they were doing and were like ‘wow!’ It was unexpected.”

After putting together what was left of the painting the family wants to learn more.

“We wanted to take care of it, frame it,” said Garcia. “My sister was like, ‘we need to know more about this piece,’ so we asked the community. We have gone on social media to find out who can tell us more about this piece. It’s amazing. It’s history.”

So far they haven’t had much luck, but hope to someday be able to tell the story.

“It just would be cool to know, ‘did my grandpa have somebody come and paint this?”; said Garcia. “Obviously it looks like it’s from some small town in Mexico, but was it from where my grandparents are from? What’s the story behind it?”

The family is asking anyone with information about the painting to reach out.

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